St Helens is home to an amazing wheelchair basketball club, The Vikings. The team is coached by Sue Peel who represented Great Britain at the Paralympics in Atlanta 1996.
Here, Sue talks about the moment she deisvoered wheelchair basketball, 30 years ago….
“30 years ago I asked my good friend Franny Roberts (rest in peace) what he was doing the next evening? “Wheelchair basketball training at Fazakerley High School” he said. Wow, so close to where I then lived and I knew nothing about it.”
“So, on a cold Thursday evening I went along to train with the Meteors/Meteorites now Vikings. It was in a small school gym that smelt of sweaty boys haha”
“I absolutely loved the training session and continued to attend weekly then 3 times a week. I enjoyed training, playing for my club and representing North West juniors at the junior championships”
“I was lucky enough to play for Great Britain for 10 years travelling all over the world in tournaments and Paralympics wearing my Great Britain vest with pride”
“I even went on to coaching. 25 years as a coach of juniors (many are no longer juniors!), seniors in the national league from junior league, development to superleague, the North West Region and Regional Performance Centres.”
“I’ve helped in the running of wheelchair basketball in our region and club as a coach, secretary and other roles. I’ve been a classifier, coach tutor, table official and a committee member for many years too.”
“30 years of friendships and aquaintences, some still going, some sadly no long with us. I’ve missed out on a lot outside of basketball with family and friends but I have a lot to thank wheelchair basketball for, especially for meeting my fantastic husband Anthony who has been at my side through the highs and the lows.”
In September 2015 Sue received an Award, “Our Heroes”. This was to acknowledge and thank her for her services to Great Britain as a player who represented at European Championships, World championships and paralympics.
The Vikings play their home games at Lansbury Bridge School and having recently been promoted to the “premier league” of wheelchair basketball, they need all the support they can get.
Some other notables. Dan Highcock, who was also born in St Helens played for the team and represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Paralympics. Abdi Jama played for them as well and represented GB for the third time at the last Paralympics our in Rio.