The history books were revisited with a gathering of former representatives of British Wheelchair Basketball, honoured for their achievements at an aptly named reunion: ‘Our Heroes.’
As the sport continues its rapid growth across the UK, British Wheelchair Basketball invited all retired GB athletes to a celebration in recognition of their contribution to the sport.
With the current Great Britain Men and Women’s Teams battling the continent’s leading sides, BWB CEO Charlie Bethel and Vice Chairman Paul Hudson welcomed the heroes of days' past to the home of the on-going European Championships, at the University of Worcester Arena. At an intimate and at times emotional gathering, old team comrades celebrated triumphs of old and discussed the legacy they had helped to create.
The International careers of the athletes spanned over 60 years, achieving great success, including a silver medal for the men at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta. The sport is also enjoying tremendous growth and success across the women's game, winning fifth at the IWBF world event and GB are current world champions in U25 women.
The athletes were joined by members of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federations for Europe and the World, including IWBF Secretary General Maureen Orchard. The heroes showed how the foundations they had put in place on the world stage had led to the present day success of the BWB World Class Performance Programme.
Paul Hudson, Vice Chairman of British Wheelchair Basketball and former GB women’s coach said:
“It was the first time that British Wheelchair Basketball had honoured former GB heroes in this way and I was extremely proud to remember just how far we had come as a sport across the National and International landscape.”
Sue Peel, Board Member British Wheelchair Basketball and former GB women’s representative said:
“It was a very special opportunity to reminisce with old friends and rivals, remember absent friends and recognise the achievements made by the group in establishing the foundations of our sport.”
Malcolm Tarkenter British Wheelchair Basketball Chairman said:
"It was great to recognise individuals who have shaped our sport at the highest levels of elite sport. It was also encouraging to hear the heroes pledge their support to bringing the next generation of players through and their coaching and mentoring will be invaluable to us as a nation."
Pictures of both past and present heroes and results of the current games can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - 'EuroWBchamps15'.
Live streaming is also available for all games at http://euro2015.uk/euros/index.cfm/schedule/
Present at the celebration on 31st August, Worcester:
Gerry Kinsella, 1967-1976
Arthur Davies, 1968-1980
Malcolm Tarkenter, 1979-1998
Maurice Hammerton, 1980-1987
Gordon Perry, 1982-1991
Colin Price, 1985-2007
Mark Cheaney, 1987-2000
Calum Gordon, 1987-1999
Joe Jayaratne, 1987-1999
Yvonne Waft, 1987-1997
David Bramley, 1989-2000
Sue Peel (nee Conroy), 1993-2003
Sonia Howe, 1996-2004
Anna Jackson, 1998-2008
Joanne Harper, 2005-2008
Paula Johnson, 2005-2008
Dan Johnson, 1988-2000