A TRIO of University of Worcester students are heading off to Japan to represent Great Britain at an international wheelchair basketball tournament.
Abs Taghrest, Jack Long and Daniel McLaughlin have all been selected for the Under 30s squad competing in the 20th Kitakyushu Champions Cup.
Running from November 10 to November 12, the annual competition this year involves the GB Under 30s squad, competing against senior teams from Japan and South Korea.
Abs represented England at the Commonwealth Games last year, finishing with a bronze medal.
“The thing I’m looking forward to the most would have to be just putting on the GB vest again, as it’s an amazing feeling, as well as any chance to cement my place further within the senior squad,” said the second year Sport and Exercise Science student.
“Obviously, representing my country is massive to me, and I’ve missed the feeling since the Commonwealth Games.”
The 19-year-old, of Watford, is also a member of the Great Britain men’s senior squad, where he was a reserve for the most recent European Championships and played at the Nations Cup in Madrid last year.
Abs has been playing wheelchair basketball for 10 years. “I love the team aspect the most,” he said.
“My ultimate ambition is to play in the next three Paralympic Games as well as be a mainstay in the GB senior squad for many cycles.”
Jack, who is in the second year of a Sport and Exercise Science degree, said: “It’s a great honour to have been given the opportunity to represent my country. I think I’m most looking forward to competing against world class talent.”
The 19-year-old, from Bristol, has been playing for nine years and previously played in a friendly tournament for the Great Britain Under 22s team. His long-term goal is also competing in the Paralympic Games.
First year Physical Education and Sports Coaching student Daniel moved to Worcester from Kilmarnock, in Scotland, to continue and further develop his journey with wheelchair basketball at the University.
The 18-year-old has represented Scotland since he was in the Under 14s. However, he first represented Great Britain at a Under 22s tournament last month after a successful season with the Scottish Wizards in the Junior League and Scotland Under 18s. He was named British Wheelchair Basketball’s Junior League Player of the Year for 2022/23 and was invited to join the British training camps over the summer.
Daniel has been playing for five years after being spotted by Basketball Scotland during a disability sports activity day at college.
“I like that it is a team game, but also that I can work as an individual on my own skills,” he said. “My ultimate ambition would be to represent at Commonwealth and Paralympic level – that’s the dream!”
All three students are on the University’s Sports Scholarship programme, which gives elite athlete students a range of support and guidance, such as financial support to attend sporting events or training, but also tailored nutritional or strength and conditioning advice.
Abs said: “The University of Worcester is a really good place to be an elite athlete as well as study because of the great support base you are provided with. The scholarship lead makes sure all of us athletes are smooth sailing within both our student and athlete lives.”
“Alongside the financial support, it provides access to strength and conditioning, and access to sports therapy for massage which is very welcome,” added Daniel.