Hemsworth’s Lee Fryer was part of the Great Britain junior men’s squad that made history as the first British team to earn a Wheelchair Basketball World Championships gold medal.
Never before, in 20 years of the under 23 men’s World Championships had a GB team earned a medal, but not only did the team including Lee reach a first final, they went and won it, beating a strong Turkey side.
In a dramatic gold medal game played in Toronto, the GB men came from two points down at half-time to win. The GB junior team, captained by Paralympian Gregg Warburton and led by head coach Scott Wallace, won six of their seven games to reach the final, the only loss being a controversial defeat to Japan in the group, avenged well in the semi-finals.
Delighted Charlie Bethel, chief executive of British Wheelchair Basketball, said: “This is a phenomenal result for the U23 men; it is a demonstration of their hard work and a testament to the talent development programme in the UK.
“What an absolutely amazing result for our world champions. My congratulations go to all the players, staff and coaching staff as well as the team behind them. This was a fantastic demonstration of elite sport, of hard work paying off and an inspiring performance. Clearly this is a testament to all we are doing working with our regions and clubs in building a sustainable talent pathway.”
Paul Davies, performance director, British Wheelchair Basketball, said: “This championship title has been delivered by a team, Gregg Warburton said at the close of the game that the team stuck together and this is certainly what they did.
“This title is the result of four year’s hard work by the players and performance staff. Head coach Scott Wallace and assistant coach Pete Finbow have worked to bond the players as a team, to have the unwavering belief that they could win a World Championship. The team have had this title in their sights since winning the Junior European title in 2014.
“The skill of our U23 men, apparent on the world stage this week, reflects the wealth of wheelchair basketball junior talent with the UK. Today we are reaping the rewards of the investment of UK Sport, TASS, Sport England and the National Lottery make in enabling us to develop talent pathways so we can deliver performances like this.”