Hamer dreaming of gold as Britain open Euro campaign with thumping victory

Hamer dreaming of gold as Britain open Euro campaign with thumping victory
By Sportsbeat

01/07/2019 at 09:53

Jude Hamer doesn't do things by halves and says Great Britain now have the belief they need to make history at the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.

Hamer's journey in the sport began at Exeter Otters WBC and has yielded five European bronze medals and, for the first time in history, World Championships silver in Hamburg last summer.

And the two-time Paralympian believes her side are better placed than ever to challenge.

"In the Europeans we've come so, so close in the past," said Hamer, as Great Britain beat France 66-18 in their opening game, thanks to Amy Conroy's 23-point haul.

"In 2015, we lost by a point in the semis to the Germans and we've lost some really tight games.

"I think the Worlds gave us some of the resilience you need to win close games. We knew we could beat Germany but none of us believed we'd beat them in the way we did.

"It was just massively convincing, relentless and we never gave them a look-in.

"It was good for us to have that experience now so we're used to the do or die environment of the final. We've got the emotion out of the way.

"This is my sixth European Championships. The final has been elusive and making a Worlds final allows us to move on - it's just business now."

Hamer was born with a short thigh bone in her right leg, an issue 18 operations over 13 years couldn't correct, but has soared to the top of her sport as a 4.0 disability classification player.

Hamer's side, who finished fourth at Rio 2016, can secure qualification for next year's Paralympics in Tokyo if they finish in the top four at the six-team European event.

In their way will be Germany and the Netherlands, who have remarkably contested the last 14 women's European Championship finals.

Netherlands are something of a nemesis for Britain, beating them in the World final in 2018 and also in the Paralympic bronze medal match in Rio.

Hamer can't wait to book a spot at the Paralympics.

"I'm really excited for Tokyo. It'll be an amazing games," she said.

"We go to Japan for the Osaka Games more or less every winter and I love it. It's such an amazing country.

"I have a lot of faith they'll do a great job as a host. Because of our structure, it's the best chance we've ever had of coming away with a Paralympic medal too.

"We've just been steadily improving since London so I'm excited to see what we can do in Tokyo."

Follow the 2019 European Championships action at www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk

Sportsbeat 2019