News story

Navy officer in GB wheelchair basketball team

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A Royal Navy lieutenant will be making her debut with the Great Britain Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team at the championships in Germany.

Lieutenant Kirsty Wallace, from Fareham, will compete for gold in Frankfurt am Main later this month as part of a young team hoping to capitalise on last year’s Paralympics success.

The team heading to Germany, who are current European bronze medallists, is a strong mix of experience and fresh blood aimed at creating a formidable force.

Originally from Ardrishaig, Argyll, Lieutenant Wallace, aged 31, discovered wheelchair basketball after breaking her back falling from height in 2007.

Lieutenant Kirsty Wallace
Lieutenant Kirsty Wallace [Picture: Soody Ahmad, Copyright SA Images]

As part of her recovery she signed up to Battle Back, a MOD initiative dedicated to getting injured Service personnel back into sport. It was there that Lieutenant Wallace was spotted by a GB basketball coach.

Based in the Communications and Information Systems Training Unit at HMS Collingwood, Lieutenant Wallace made her debut in 2011 and narrowly missed out on a place in the team for London 2012, when she was a reserve.

Lieutenant Wallace said:

I mostly feel relieved at being selected after 4 years of being a reserve. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside the rest of the team at a major event.

I’m excited to be involved in bringing this new team forward and I hope we are able to do better than the traditional third place that we normally come.

Lieutenant Kirsty Wallace
Lieutenant Kirsty Wallace [Picture: Soody Ahmad, Copyright SA Images]

Standard Life GB women’s basketball coach, Joe Jayaratne, said:

It was a really tricky selection process and, after a lot of discussion, we are happy that we have selected a team that will not only be competitive, but also has the scope to develop greatly, with the future in mind.

Our first and main goal at the European Championships has to be to qualify for the World Championships next year and then, hopefully, to try to improve on our positioning relative to previous European campaigns.

Battle Back

Battle Back was launched in 2008. It exists to ensure the seriously injured have access to the same opportunities in sport and adventurous training that are currently available to the able-bodied.

Through Battle Back, a tri-Service organisation, seriously injured Service personnel are encouraged to participate in sport and adventurous training as part of their rehabilitation process and beyond.