Team Scotland athlete Lynsey Speirs believes this summer’s Commonwealth Games is the perfect platform to grow a new format of Wheelchair Basketball and inspire the next generation to get involved.
Wheelchair basketball is set to make its Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham after being adapted to a fast-paced 3×3 format.
Speirs cemented her place as one of the stars of the sport in Scotland when she helped the Loughborough Lightning Wheelchair Basketball team make history by winning the inaugural Women’s Premier League title.
This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will commit to over 250 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Speirs is looking for medal success.
And with the platform as big as a Commonwealth Games just around the corner, Speirs is keen not to let the opportunity to grow the sport slip.
Representatives from all four Home Nations met in Birmingham ahead of the Commonwealth Games
With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Speirs hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.
“3×3 as a format is very new to us over here anyway at least, so it is a great opportunity to give the format that platform,” said Speirs, who was speaking during a four nation photoshoot in Birmingham, which saw athletes from each of the home nations come together for the very first time to celebrate the final countdown to the Games.
“It is also great to be able to be the people who introduce it to that younger generation as well.
“They are starting to introduce the 3×3 format in all of the junior games as well.
“So, maybe that is the way things are going, or maybe it will be included alongside the 5v5 option moving forward, but it does not matter as long as it provides people with an opportunity to enjoy this great sport.
“Preparation is going really well. The team we have known each other well because we have played together as part of the Loughborough Lightning wheelchair basketball team, so we have gotten to know each other well, and we are just working on our preparations for the 3×3 format.
“It is my first Commonwealth Games, and it is by far the biggest competition I have ever been part of, so I am really excited and really proud.
“The fact that it is in Birmingham as well makes it even more special because all my family and friends can travel here from Scotland to show their support.”
The 3×3 game is played on a half court, with both teams shooting at the same basket.
Each side has three players on the court at any one time in matches lasting 10 minutes or until a team scores 21 points – whichever comes first.
And Speirs is grateful for The National Lottery, who she feels have helped support her up until this point in her career, to give her the opportunity to compete in Birmingham.
She added: “I don’t think everyone knows just how important funding from The National Lottery is.
“Right up from grassroots to the top of elite sport, it is vital.
The athletes met with 15 days to go until the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
“For me personally, the club that I played with in Glasgow gets a lot of funding from The National Lottery, and that helps us to buy equipment, to travel and to help train our coaches.
“National Lottery funding supports Team Scotland, but they also back all the home nations.
“I don’t think people realize how many winners there are when you buy a ticket.
“Really, the prize is split across all these different great causes, so I am really happy to see people playing.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.