Paralympian Louise Sugden visits school as Newham crowned winner of disability sports


GB Paralympian Louise Sugden awards medals
Else Kvist, Reporter
Monday, April 8, 2013
5:52 PM

Langdon School is the closest Paralympian Louise Sugden has got to the Olympic Park since the heady days of last summer’s Paralympic Games.

Indoor Javelin at Panathlon Challenge East Final at Langdon School in East Ham
The co-captain of Team GB’s wheelchair basketball team at London 2012 admitted to feeling a little emotional being back near the scene of that “once-in-a-lifetime experience” as she visited the school in East Ham.

She was at the East London Finals of the Panathlon Challenge – a ‘mini-Paralympics’ for grassroots athletes -in an ambassadorial role for the charity Panathlon which helps provide competitive sport to over 3,000 disabled children each year.

The event saw fierce competition across a range of sports, including long jump, wheel chair racing and table cricket, and saw Newham crowned overall East London Champions and reach the London Final on June 19.

Having experienced PE lessons in her wheelchair surrounded by able-bodied children while at school herself, the 28-year-old Paralympian knows the importance of inclusive sport for young disabled people.

Jordon Andrews does a long jump at Panathlon Challenge East Final at Langdon School , East Ham
“You can get disheartened if you’re playing against people who are running around and you’re not doing very well.

“The fact that these kids are all playing on a level playing field is so crucial, because it helps them realise what they can do,” Louise said.

This year Panathlon will invest more than £250,000 in sports equipment and coaching funds across London and the south-east and will help provide 15,000 active hours of sport to disabled children.

John Lewis Stratford City donated £33,000 to Panathlon using funds raised during London 2012 by charging customers to access a viewing gallery on its third floor. The store raised a total of £130,000 which it split between four local charities selected by its staff.

Coaching duo to lead Standard Life GB Women to European Championships


Coaching duo to lead Standard Life GB Women to European Championships

British Wheelchair Basketball is delighted to announce that the highly experienced coaching team of Nigel Smith and Joe Jayaratne will be heading up the Standard Life GB Women for this year’s European Championships and in preparation for them.

With a combined total of over 67 years in the sport, both Jayaratne and Smiths’ wheelchair basketball careers have seen them successfully make the transition from winning medals on some of the world’s main stages as players, to winning them as coaches. A feat which British Wheelchair Basketball hopes they are able to transfer across to the Standard Life GB women’s team.

Regarding his appointment to the Standard Life GB Women’s Coaching Team, Smith said: “Joe & I have played and coached together for a combined total of 60 years. Although we only have a short time with the Standard Life GB Women’s Squad we will be utilising all of that experience to help the ladies try to achieve the team goals that they set themselves. We are both extremely excited with the challenge and cannot wait to get started!”

Jayaratne added: “We are both enthused at the prospect of working with the current crop of young and talented players in the Standard Life GB Women’s Squad. We hope that we are able to impart some positive ideas and knowledge, and to play some small part in their on-going development.”

British Wheelchair Basketball’s Performance Director, Paul Davies, said “We believe that Joe and Nigel will bring a wealth of experience to the Women’s team in the run up to European Championships. Their technical and coaching knowledge is of the highest quality and we are pleased that they have joined our team as we target success in Frankfurt later this summer.”

Standard Life GB women to host The Netherlands in first international since London


Standard Life GB women to host The Netherlands in first international since LondonStandard Life GB women’s wheelchair basketball team will face tough competition against London 2012 Paralympic Bronze Medallists, The Netherlands, in their first international series since the Paralympic Games.The Head to Head series presented by Standard Life will see GB take on the Netherlands five times at the University of Wolverhampton. (Thursday 18th April – Saturday 20th April 2013), with all games being free for spectators.The Standard Life GB Women will be looking to avenge their opening game of London where they suffered defeat at the hands of The Netherlands, 62 -35. The series will be the start of their international season in preparation for this year’s European Championship in July.

This will be the first international wheelchair basketball tournament in Britain since the Paralympics and an opportunity to showcase one of the major sporting events of the Games. For those who were captivated by wheelchair basketball it will also present the chance to get closer to the action.

Standard Life GB women’s, Helen Turner said, “Playing against the Dutch is always a great challenge and this series will give us the opportunity to compete against one of the best teams in the world. It will be a good test for the team and allow us to see where we are in terms of competition since the London Paralympics.

“I’m excited that we are able to play at home grounds and hope that the public will continue to show their enthusiasm and support for the game and for the GB women’s team as they did last summer.”

Mike Chamberlain, Director of Sport at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this tournament and we encourage people to come along to see for themselves what inspired so many of us during the London 2012 Paralympic competition. The University has a long-standing relationship with the sport and sees it as a key development focus for sport in coming years.”

The game schedule is as follows:

Thursday 18th April

GB women v The Netherlands – tip off 6.30pm

Friday 19th April

The Netherlands v GB women – tip off 10.30am

GB women v The Netherlands – tip off 8pm

Saturday 20th April

The Netherlands v GB women – tip off 10.30am

GB women v The Netherlands – tip off 8pm

Blue Badge Style Sports Blog Week 9: Louise Sugden – “I Love That You Never Stop Learning With Wheelchair Basketball”

We started the Blue Badge Style Sports Blog to help advise less able people on how to get into sports. Each week we feature a different Paralympic athlete writing about their own sport.

This week we’re featuring GB Wheelchair Basketball star Louise Sugden. Louise has been playing for the Great Britain team for over a decade. She featured at the Paralympics in Beijing and again last year in London where she co-captained the GB team. Here’s her story:

Having grown up with a disability that confined me to a wheelchair I developed an attitude towards life that you have to make the most of what you have. I don’t like to look at obstacles, whether physical or otherwise, but more at the ways to overcome anything in my way. I guess this is a good attribute for an elite athlete but I honestly don’t think I would have been half as successful if I’d not been involved in car crash at the age of 9 months, leaving me wheelchair bound.

If you’ve read Sarah Grady’s blog, she mentions trying basketball at the National Junior Games in 1997. I also had my first taste of Wheelchair Basketball at that session and just like Sarah, I was awful. It took me over a year to join a club and, if I’m honest, the reason I did was because my friends played and it was a ‘cool’ sport, which is very important at the age of 14! I joined Force (now known as London Titans) where I played in the national league for over 10 years and still play for in the Women’s League.

louise sugden

Proudly sporting our Force tops back in 2004

I still consider Basketball to be a ‘cool’ sport but my love for the game has completely changed. I love the pace of the game and the physicality, even though it is a minimal contact sport. I also love that you never stop learning with Basketball but most importantly I love that it keeps me fit and healthy.

louise sugden

Louise’s basketball wheelchair

For those of you that have played or watched running basketball, there are many similarities in the rules. The baskets are at the same height (10 foot) and the court markings are the same as USA college basketball. Rules such as the 3 second rule and backcourt rule still apply but there are differences in the travelling rule and what constitutes a foul.

There is obviously a huge time commitment needed to play at an elite level but I’m definitely the kind of person that likes to keep busy so I love it. That said, not everyone who plays wheelchair basketball does it because they want to reach an elite standard. A huge number of people play to maintain fitness, as a way to socialise and some just because they enjoy playing in the league. Wheelchair Basketball is played by a great range of people, from able-bodied people to paraplegic, so basically as long as you get in and push a wheelchair you can play.

As a member of the GB squad I’ve competed at 5 Europeans, 1 World Championships and 2 Paralympic Games at Beijing and London. The highlight of my playing career was London 2012, without a doubt, despite there being a feeling of regret when I think about the team’s performance at London 2012.

louise sugden

Louise after a tumble at London 2012

Having a goal of reaching the semi-finals seemed optimistic to most people but was something we strongly believed as a team we were capable of. Therefore when we lost our quarter final against the eventual gold medalists  Germany, it felt like the end of the world. But not to the Great British public, they were incredible every single game, no matter what the result and that made it worth every second of hard work to get there. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel so honoured to say I competed at the Paralympics that made disability sport accessible to the public and inspired so many.

louise sugden

Before the closing ceremony at London 2012

If you were inspired, more information about trying Wheelchair Basketball can be found at

Thanks Louise for an inspiring and engaging blog. Always knew that Basketball is a ‘cool’ sport but you don’t always think about the dedication that goes into it too!

A huge thank you to Blue Badge Style for asking me to blog for them. Check out their website for more information on accessibility for the less able at

Exciting New Website

This is my first blog on my new website and it feels only fitting that it is about the website itself.

It’s currently just gone midnight and I’m sat at my computer trying to get my new website looking fantastic before I launch it in just under a week.

Having my own website is quite a landmark for me because in my mind only celebrities and businesses have their own page but here I am putting the finishing touches to it! Although I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity and I’m definitely not business, I just want to share my passion for Wheelchair Basketball with as many people as possible and I figured there was no better way.

My main motivation for setting this up was to promote the visits I do in school and businesses which is another way I’ve found of getting more fans of my sport. I love watching peoples faces as they try out Wheelchair Basketball and I enjoy sharing my story of how I got into the game and my journey so far.

So my plan for the website is to put up regular blogs (although if my schedule is hectic, it might not be as regular as I hope), this includes excerpts from my journal I was writing up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I will also be putting up dates of league matches I’m involved in and GB Tournaments wherever they are in the world. Basically as much information as possible about Wheelchair Basketball and where you can get your fix because I know there are a lot of you out there who have an empty space in your lives since the Paralympics finished.

Thank you for reading and keep checking back for regular updates <3 Launched

Welcome to my new website that will be officially launched on the 1st April 2013. I’m so excited about having a website where I will be sharing all my latest news, match & tournament information and you can also find out how to get me to visit your school or workplace.

Thank you for visiting, feel free to have a look around and enjoy 🙂