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New Women’s Wheelchair Basketball League Can Be ‘Massive’ – Amy Conroy

April 22, 2021

Great Britain wheelchair basketball player Amy Conroy believes the new Women’s Premier League will be “massive” for the sport.

British Wheelchair Basketball says it will be “the first of its kind for women’s wheelchair basketball in the world, and the very first professional Para-sport league in the UK”.

Four teams will be involved in the first season, to start in December.

“I can’t wait to see where it will take our sport,” said Paralympian Conroy.

“It sends out a massive message and shows female sport is up and coming. I never thought something as big as this would happen during my career.

“Hopefully it will mean more fans, more visibility and more players with disabilities at both recreational and international level. The opportunities will be endless.”

As well as attracting the best domestic players, it is hoped the league, which will have teams based at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Loughborough University, University of East London and University of Worcester, will also attract some of the world’s top women players.

Players will not be paid directly by their respective clubs; instead, each franchise will offer different packages to athletes, including scholarships, accommodation and expenses support, and access to full-time professional support teams.

Great Britain’s women are currently ranked second in the world after winning silver at the 2018 World Championships in Germany and the 2019 Europeans.

They have qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo Games later this year where they will be chasing a first Paralympic medal after finishing fourth at Rio 2016.

At present, many elite male players, including most of the GB men’s squad, play professionally in countries including Spain, Italy and Germany, and while women can line up alongside them on mixed teams, British Wheelchair Basketball chief executive Lisa Pearce told BBC Sport she believes the new league’s all-female environment will be a big draw.

“The women’s league doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,” she said. “This is the first showcase for them to bring the sport to the rest of the world and there is a real passion behind women’s sport in the UK.”

“The GB women are number two in the world. We want to get them to number one and this is the best mechanism to do it.”

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