Fourth is often described as the worst place to finish in sport but Laurie Williams claims it was just the tonic Great Britain’s women wheelchair basketball team needed to make history.

GB finished just off the podium at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 but, two years on, the 26-year-old was helping inspire the country to a first-ever Wheelchair Basketball World Championship final, narrowly losing to the Netherlands in Hamburg.

A maiden World Championship silver medal comes as no surprise for Williams, who believes that performance in 2016 gave the women’s side enough belief they could take on the world.

She said: “I think we knew what our potential was and knew what we could achieve. Having come fourth in Rio, we knew we were capable of doing big things.

“I think the way we played at the tournament overall and to have got into that final, we used our own expectation and even our own targets to make it all the way.

“We knew that we didn’t have anything to lose. We achieved everything we had done up to that point.

GB women finished second in Hamburg. Credit: Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball

“We’d done all the hard work, we’d won all the games that we were meant to win. So now this was just a last big shot, we went out there and had nothing to lose.”

All eyes are now set on Tokyo 2020 where Great Britain will be desperate to not just win a medal but to be crowned Paralympic champions.

Williams, who won gold at the U25 Women’s World Championship in 2015, insists clinching silver in Hamburg was her best achievement to date as she still comes to terms with Great Britain’s heroics in Germany.


"It will definitely go on my highlight reel"

Laurie Williams

She said: “I feel like it’s still taking a long time to hit home, it all feels like a bit of a blur! Even when we won the semi-final game and got into the final it was all a bit of a blur.

“You never really know what it’s going to feel like but everyone was quite overwhelmed, so I think even now we still find it hard to actually believe that we got into the final and won a silver.

“To be able to achieve something with the senior women’s team that has never been done before, you know we’ve really come such a long way from when I first started about ten years ago, especially the style of basketball we’re playing now.

“It really is testament to what the programme has done and what we’ve done as athletes – to achieve something that I’m sure a lot of people thought we wouldn’t be capable of achieving. So it will definitely go on my highlight reel.”

Sportsbeat 2018

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