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Wycombe wheelchair basketball star tipped for Games gold
12:40pm Thursday 5th July 2012 in Sport
PARALYMPIC bronze medallist Ade Adepitan insists Wycombe’s Matt Sealy can make wheelchair basketball history at London 2012 by claiming Team GB’s first ever gold medal.
The 30-year-old was selected in coach Murray Treseder’s 12-strong squad last month and believes Sealy will never have a better chance with 10,000 home fans urging him towards the basket at the Basketball Arena.
With Britain currently ranked second in the world and fresh from their silver at the Paralympic World Cup in May expectations of a medal have never been higher.
Adepitan said: “I think they have a great chance, it’s such an open tournament it could be their best chance ever.
“Any one of four of five teams can win the gold and when it’s this close you try and look to little advantages.
“The fact we’ll be on home soil and the crowd is 90 per cent in your favour is a really big factor that I think they can tap into. I know it’s a cliché but the crowd can be the sixth man.
“It plays a huge part when it feels like everyone is on your side, it gives you a lift and when you start scoring baskets it gets louder and louder, the confidence will just flow.
“It’s hugely important that they’ve had that good competition in the Paralympic World Cup and played some of the best sides, they know what to expect.
“They want to make history, we’ve never won a gold before, we’ve come so close, so to be the first ones ever at London 2012 would be amazing, not only for the glory but for the sport in general.
“If little kids suddenly see Team GB as the best in the world they could be the next Matt Sealy – that’s what we all want. I think that mixture of youth and experience can play into their hands.”
Team GB’s best ever Paralympic performance came at Atlanta 1996 when they claimed silver. Fast forward 16 years and Sealy finds himself following a similar path with gold in Israel in 2011 against Germany an omen for this summer’s Paralympic Games.
Adepitan said: “The last time Team GB won the Europeans was in 1996 and at the Atlanta Games we went on to the final, maybe it’s a good omen.
“There is such strength in depth so while a lot of the other teams have one star player, I don’t think we do.
“We have 12 very, very good players so it’s going to be down to our coach, it will be like a chess game trying to work out all the pieces.”
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week took place from 25-29 June 2012 and is Britain’s biggest school sport event with more than four million pupils staging their own Games this year. Find out more at www.schoolsportweek.org
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