Carrigill hoping to inspire Great Britain to medal success

Sophie Carrigill.
Sophie Carrigill.

Sophie Carrigill says it is “about time” that the Great Britain Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team brought home a medal.

The Wakefield native is co-captain of the Great British wheelchair side that begin their World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Hamburg with a clash against Canada this afternoon (1pm).

Carrigill and the rest of the team were only one result away from bringing home a bronze from the Paralympics in Rio in 2016. They were beaten 76-34 by the Netherlands in the bronze medal match.

“It is definitely about time that we brought home a medal,” said Carrigill.

“We came really close in the Paralympics in Rio, coming home fourth was disappointing but it was a really good position for our programme to reach that far.”

Carrigill began playing wheelchair basketball after she was paralysed from the waist down in a severe car accident eight years ago.

The 24-year-old admitted she was unsure of what the future held for her as she recovered in hospital.

She was prompted by others around her to take up the sport which has allowed her to realise her dream of representing her country on the international stage.

She said: “It was a really dark time for me when I didn’t know what my future held.

“I was actually introduced to the sport through being in hospital.

“A lot of people said ‘go out and do it, you’ll meet new people and it will just be for fun.’

“And so that’s what I did, I turned up at my local basketball team which was the Leeds Spiders and I just had a really great time.

“It showed me that my life wasn’t over and that it had only just begun.”

Carrigill says that being in the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team has been a truly life-changing experience.

“It has changed my life completely,” she added.

“Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t been introduced to wheelchair basketball, you never know where you’ll end up.

“I’m glad that I found it, I am glad that it has had such an impact on my life. Because I am really proud of where I am now and I am really proud of the person I have become.”

Carrigill continued: “Accident or no accident, you can‘t predict your life but I know the position I am in now I am really grateful for.”

All of Great Britain’s games at the wheelchair basketball world championships are all streamed live and also free on YouTube.