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Twelve Women’s Basketball players selected to Team GB

June 22, 2012 09:00 am

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today announced the 12 players that will represent Team GB in women’s basketball at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Giant strides have been made by the British squad since the formation of British Basketball in 2007, and fittingly, the London Games will be the first time that Team GB has been represented in women’s basketball at the Olympics. The squad announced today will be in confident mood after having defeated the Czech Republic, ranked fourth in the world, on Wednesday of this week.

The selected athletes are (name; age; born; home nation; current club):

  • Dominique Allen 
  • Rose Anderson 
  • Kim Butler 
  • Stef Collins
  • Temi Fagbenle
  • Chantelle Handy
  • Jo Leedham
  • Julie Page
  • Natalie Stafford
  • Azania Stewart
  • Rachael Vanderwal
  • Jenaya Wade-Fray 

CLICK HERE to view full athlete profiles

While none of the players have previous Olympic experience, they have every reason to be optimistic about their prospects of producing competitive and creditable performances on home soil this summer after registering some notable results in recent years. 

The British women made history by qualifying for the 2011 EuroBasket tournament for the first time where they reached the second round, and they have recently beaten countries including South Korea, Argentina and Canada – all with significantly higher world rankings – in the build-up to this summer’s Olympic competition.

In their most important year since the team’s inception, the Team GB women’s basketball selection represents a good blend of youth and experience and will allow the side to gauge their progress by competing with some of the world’s top nations.  Before the Games, Team GB will play preparatory matches against Angola, Australia and France in Sheffield before meeting reigning gold medallists USA in Manchester.

The Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park will play host to the preliminary round and women’s quarter-final, and the semi-finalists will relocate to the North Greenwich Arena where the final will also be contested on Saturday 11th August.

The announcement was made today at Loughborough University, which is hosting the Team GB Preparation Camp prior to the Games.

Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:

“The progress that British Basketball has made over the past five years is remarkable and the British women have already proven that they can punch well above their weight with a number of victories over higher ranked opponents.

“London 2012 presents a fabulous opportunity for the women’s team to showcase British basketball to a new generation of sports fans. Home support can make a huge difference and I’m sure the crowd at the Basketball Arena will be willing the team on to cause a few more upsets.

“All of the athletes and staff put in an exceptional amount of commitment and dedication along the journey to reach this point. The team performed very well at last year’s EuroBasket event in Poland, and I am sure they will give a fantastic account of themselves as part of Team GB from the moment they tip off against Australia on July 28th.”

Chris Spice, British Basketball Performance Director said:

“Our programme continues to grow and competition for places gets stronger each season.  This year has been our hardest selection to date.  I congratulate all those players who have been selected for the Olympic Games in London but equally I would like to thank all of the other squad players that have pushed themselves to the limits but just missed out.  It is only by increasing the depth of our squad can we expect to sustain and improve upon our fantastic performances over the past two years.

“I particularly want to congratulate our two new GB youngsters who have come through our home nation and GB junior ranks in the past few years – Dominque Allen and Temi Fagbenle.  They have shown this season an incredible willingness to learn but at the same time improved their game and fully deserve their selection.

“The key now for the team is to continue their development over the coming weeks to ensure we are well prepared come Games time. Making the team is one thing, playing well for your country in the Olympic Games is another.”

Tom Maher, GB Senior Women’s Head Coach said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce that we have picked our team and really think it is the right mix of players that will represent Great Britain in the appropriate way.”

Jo Leedham, player and Leadership Group member said:

“Being selected in the final 12 as an individual is a very proud moment for me and is something I will cherish forever.  I’m really excited to be in the Olympic Village, I can’t quite imagine how great it is going to be at the moment.  

“For us as a team it is unbelievable.  We have come so far in recent years and achieved what was needed to qualify for London 2012.  We are so excited to be at the Olympics, we have worked so hard and all the girls definitely deserve their place.  We can’t wait to get going.”

Chantelle Handy said:

“It is an honour to be selected in the final 12.  We have worked so hard over the last few years but this is what we do and we feel prepared.  We are all very excited and can’t wait for the experience.  I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support.  Good luck everyone.”

Azania Stewart said:

“I’m obviously really excited to make the final 12 because it has been a long process involving a lot of hard work, so I’m really ecstatic.  My family have their tickets and outfits ready, having faith I would make the team.  I feel confident we will do the nation proud and will show everyone what we are worth.  See you there.”