“I hope there will be more focus on wheelchair basketball so that little kids who are newly disabled or have been disabled all their lives can see how great it is” – Jade Atkin from Portsmouth

The 20-year-old made her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham and is thrilled to shine a light on the inclusive nature of the sport for the next generation.

Wheelchair basketball made its Commonwealth Games debut in a new 3×3 half-court format from the usual 5v5, and Atkin is part of the eight-man England squad.

It was one of eight sports with para-sport competitions – the others being athletics, swimming, cycling, pétanque, weightlifting, table tennis and triathlon.

Portsmouth’s Jade Atkins in action during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

England will face Scotland later in the day in the third/fourth place play-off – a winners’ medal only.

Atkin, who already has an international medal in every color to her name, is ready to showcase the sport’s greatest strength.

“When we’re on the pitch, we’re all equal,” she said.

“When we are in our day-to-day life, we encounter a lot of difficulties and a lot of things that make us unequal to others. And in the whole environment of athletes, we all have the same mindset and the same goal. .

“There’s a mutual respect, I think we all have that mindset and that’s what makes me love team sports.

“When we do things on or off the pitch, we know we’re doing them for the rest of the team.

“I hope there will be more focus on wheelchair basketball so that little kids who are newly disabled or have been disabled all their lives can see this sport and understand how great it is.”

“To then feel more accepted in themselves and more confident to try it.”

Atkin has been selected as a member of Aldi’s Rising Stars, a program that supports 20 young athletes each year by offering a financial reward to help defray training and competition costs, while providing opportunities for personal development to many athletes through workshops.

Each year, athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of over 60 sports on the basis of defined criteria.

Rising Stars athletes will receive financial support through Aldi, as well as a monthly food voucher, to fuel them during training, competitions and future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Atkin started playing wheelchair basketball for fun with her sister Adele before she was diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia, and both sisters went on to compete internationally.

The England athlete was part of the teams that won gold and bronze at the U24 European and U25 Junior World Championships. She also won silver in her GB senior bow at the 2021 European Championships.

Although Adele no longer competes internationally, Atkin is thrilled to be able to continue sharing her basketball journey with her family and receiving their support in Birmingham this summer.

She said: “My sister used to play and at that time I didn’t have a disability so I started playing with her because I just wanted to play with her – she couldn’t run, so that was the only way I could.

“And then once I got into it I realized it was really fun and I got really competitive and eventually found out I was disabled and so I got ranked.

“Very quickly we came up with a rule not to talk about basketball in the car because it would only lead to arguments.

“She’s in a different position than mine, so I think that helped me more to understand the position she’s playing, and we learned from each other.”

“I know she will support me. I know anyway that she supports me and supports me and encourages me.

“She wants me to win, so it’s nice to get little messages from her.”

*Aldi is the official supermarket partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and has been a partner of Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will support them until Paris 2024

About Kimberly Alley

Check Also

#6 WT wraps up Saturday road trip with South Dakota Mines

History links against SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER | 8:00 p.m. CT | CENTER …