FORMER Thames Valley Kings member Kayla Bell will join the Great Britain squad for the 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which take place in Hamburg, Germany, from today (Thursday) to August 26.
Bell, who grew up in Thatcham, will be one of the 12 athletes selected, making up a youthful squad with an average age of just 23.
The players and support staff are quietly hopeful of finishing in the medals, building on their fifth place of four years ago.
The squad will offer a powerful blend of youth and experience, with nine of the 12 having represented Paralympics GB at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, while 22-year-old Bell will be playing in her first senior international tournament.
The team head into the World Championships in excellent form, winning the recent Lyon Wheelchair Basketball Competition without losing a game.
Bell, who started playing the sport when she joined the Kings at the tender age of eight, represented the club at both under-15s and under-19s levels in the Lord Taverners Junior League competition.
She later represented the South East region at the National Junior Championships and England South at the National School Games Championships.
She has also been selected as part of Great Britain’s under-25s squad and was part of the 2016 Women’s U25 European Championships winning team.
Bell was also on hand to present the Kings’ end of season awards in 2017 and also made a surprise appearance in a Kings jersey during a pre-season friendly against Swindon Shock before the Kings’ successful 2017/18 season.
Great Britain face reigning champions Canada, Spain, Brazil, Australia and the Netherlands in Pool A of the 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, with the top four teams from each pool qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The medal games will take place in Germany on Saturday, August 25.
Jaqueline Scoins-Cass – the founding member of Thames Valley Kings – was so proud to see Bell receiving a call up.
She said: “Getting into the senior GB team is amazing and I am proud, as her first coach, that she has been able to achieved that.
“Kayla started off when she was eight years old and now she is going to places with the national team.
“It just shows you the progression within the sport.”
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