Women’s head coach Miles Thompson has branded Great Britain’s success at the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship as the start of a legacy as the nation goes in search of glory at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.

The women’s team clinched a maiden World Championship silver medal with the men’s team going one step further and taking their first ever gold in the competition in Hamburg.

That unprecedented success in Germany has raised hopes of a golden Paralympics in Tokyo and Thompson believes glory last month was just the start of things to come.

He said: “All eyes are set on the Paralympics but we first have to qualify and the European cycle is a really hard place to qualify from.

“We’ll go into that next summer and we’re already back in the office now trying to work out how we qualify for Tokyo.

“The European zone is really strong on the women’s side. The top three teams in the world are from Europe so our focus now is to give our athletes time to recover and time away but our focus now is on the Europeans.

Great Britain beat the US in the final in Hamburg. Credit: Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball

“I think there’s a beginning of a legacy and we see it through out involvement with our juniors too. We’re preparing for Junior European Championship that’s taking place in November and half our senior players are going there.

“We’ve had great responses from clubs about how well they’re doing and there’s a legacy which is going to continue at an elite level. We cannot wait to see how it progresses.”

Men’s head coach Haj Bhania was the brains behind Britain’s first ever World Championship gold as the side beat the US 79-62.

Bhania has been around British Wheelchair Basketball for more than 16 years and revealed the belief instilled within the side could take Great Britain to further glory in years to come.

He said: “It certainly has been a very special period for wheelchair basketball and we’re just overjoyed with what’s been achieved. It’s a fantastic result for both the men’s and women’s teams.

“All we ever said to the guys is that we have a chance and make it to the quarter finals but then you’ve got a great opportunity. We didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves.

Phil Pratt captained Great Britain to victory

“I think the guys have always had it in them and their viewpoint was that they did not come here to finish second.

“They had the belief, no doubt about that. The youngsters we had on show were fantastic as well for us. We hadn’t been that far before so I wanted to make sure we showed full belief and the players were determined to get it.

“The first thing I said to Steve Kane, our assistant coach, is that ‘we’re world champions’ and you never think you’d ever say that to anyone, but I just keep saying it and thinking it ‘we’re world champions’.

“It’s all about the team and the fantastic performance they produced and having that belief in the final.

“There’s a great ring about Great Britain being called world champions and that’s never going to fade to me. We’ve made history for GB with that gold. The youngsters we had and the style we played is very pleasing.”

Sportsbeat 2018

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