Laurie Williams (wheelchair basketball)

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Laurie Williams
Laurie Williams.jpg
Personal information
Nickname(s) Whippet
Nationality  United Kingdom
Born (1992-02-04) 4 February 1992 (age 26)
Height 153 cm (5 ft 0 in)
Sport
Country Great Britain
Sport Wheelchair basketball
Disability class 2.5
Event(s) Women's team
College team University of Alabama
Club Coyotes (Nottingham)

Laurie Williams (born 4 February 1992) is a 2.5 point British wheelchair basketball player who participated at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.

Early life and education

Laurie Williams was born on 4 February 1992 in Wythenshawe Hospital, later growing up in Altrincham.[1] At the age of eighteen months, an undiagnosed viral infection resulted in her developing motor neuropathy in her trunk and legs.[1]

Williams attended Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and proceeded to graduate with a first class honours Bachelor of Science degree in social psychology from Loughborough University.[2] "There were loads of different reasons for coming to Loughborough University," she explained. "The course was one of them; it’s one of the only universities in the country that does social psychology and that was important for me. The sport as well, obviously. I applied for the 2012 scholarship and got it and the facilities are really good. But the atmosphere was also a big factor. It’s one of the best student experience universities in the country."[3]

Immediately following her studies at Loughborough, Williams pursued postgraduate education at the University of Alabama, graduating with a Master of Science degree in Human Development Studies.[4]

Sporting career

When she was 13, Williams began wheelchair athletics and wheelchair racing. While attending the Greater Manchester Youth Games in 2005, she was asked to try out for wheelchair basketball. She found that she loved the physicality of the game and the social aspects of being part of a team,[2][5] and started playing competitively in 2008. Her team mates called her "whippet" on account of her speed on the basketball court.[1] She played for the Nottingham Coyotes in the National League and is classified as a 2.5 point player.[5]

In 2009 Williams made her debut with Team Great Britain at the 2009 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, and in 2010 was part of the team that came sixth at the World Championships in Birmingham – Britain's best ever performance. She was then part of the team that won silver at the U22 European Championships in Italy later that year. She won bronze at the European Championships in Nazareth in 2011 and Frankfurt in 2013, and at the U25 World Championship in St. Catharines, Canada in 2011. She made her Paralympic debut in front of a home crowd at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.[1]

Whilst studying at University of Alabama, Williams was part of the university wheelchair basketball team, and participated in their successfully winning their fourth National Championship in seven years in 2015, with a 58–52 win over the University of Illinois.[6]

In 2015 she was co-captain (with Amy Conroy) of the U25 team at the 2015 Women's U25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Beijing,[7] winning gold.[8] She then played with the senior team that defeated France to take bronze in the 2015 European Championship.[9] In May 2016, she was named as part of the team for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.[10] The British team produced its best ever performance at the Paralympics, making it all the way to the semi-finals, but lost to the semi-final to the United States, and then the bronze medal match to the Netherlands.[11]

Achievements

  • 2009: Bronze at the European Championships (Stoke Mandeville, UK)[1]
  • 2010: Sixth at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships (Birmingham, UK)[1]
  • 2011: Bronze at the European Championships (Nazareth, Israel)[1]
  • 2011: Bronze at the U25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship (St. Catharines, Canada)
  • 2012: Seventh at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games (London, UK)[1]
  • 2013: Bronze at European Championships (Frankfurt, Germany)[1]
  • 2014: Fifth at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championship (Toronto, Canada)
  • 2015: Gold at the 2015 Women's U25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship (Beijing, China)[8]
  • 2015: Bronze at the European Championships (Worcester, England) [9]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Laurie Williams". British Wheelchair Basketball. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Snapshots – Laurie Williams – London 2012 Games". Loughborough University. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Focus on... Laurie Williams". Loughborough University. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Alabama Adapted Athletics » Laurie Williams". University of Alabama. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Laurie Williams – London 2012". Paralympics GB. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Alabama Adapted Athletics » 2015 National Champions". University of Alabama. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Great Britain Team announced for 2015 Women's U25 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships". British Wheelchair Basketball. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Great Britain crowned Women's U25 World Champions!". British Wheelchair Basketball. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Germany earn 10th women's European Wheelchair Basketball Championship title as hosts Britain win men's gold". Inside the Games. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "British women's wheelchair basketball team named for Rio". International Paralympic Committee. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  11. ^ Berkeley, Geoff (17 September 2016). "University of Worcester-based GB women's wheelchair basketball team miss out on bronze medal to dominant Dutch in Rio Paralympics". Worcester News. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
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