A 12-YEAR-old who has only been playing wheelchair basketball for a year says it has been “surreal and amazing” to win a UK national title.
Despite his relative inexperience, William Bishop, from Llanrhaeadr, was picked for the under-15s regional team, the North Wales Knights.
The Knights went on an incredible 15-match winning streak that took them through their regional heats right into the final where they beat Tees Valley Titans to take the title.
William, who goes to St Brigid’s School, Denbigh, admitted that the team had not known what to expect.
He said: “I’ve been playing the wheelchair basketball for a year. I’ve improved quickly which is lucky
“Because North Wales has a small population, the four clubs come together (Rhyl Raptors, Caernarfon Celts, Conwy THunder, Anglesey Hawks) to be North Wales Knights.
“It’s the first time they’ve had an under-15s team so it was very exciting for everyone.”
William added: “We had three days of qualifying with four games a day and we won all 12, so went on to the British Championships in Worcester.
“We have some great players in our team. Everyone was important. We went down not expecting much but were a bit lucky in the first game - we usually ltake a bit of time to warm up
“So after we won the first game it all went a bit crazy; we on the second game and got to the final.
“We felt confident as it was a team we’d beaten in qualifying. So we played the Tees Valley Titans. It was a very close game but we we came out on top, it was an amazing experience.” Although William can walk, his cerebral palsy means he’s not able to play football to the level he wants to.
However, he says he’s not one to let it hold him back.
“I’ve been at the front in school with the medal I won in assembly,” he said. “It’s all been very surreal, and amazing.
“I’ve found the sport for me. I do horse-riding and karate as well. I’ve always been into sport and sport’s always been a part of my life. Just being able to win and be UK champion was amazing.”
William’s mum, Pam said: “For a team that’s very new, they worked hard. They were very resilient. They dug deep and we were all astounded.”
“It’s given him a real boost. He’d train all the time if he could. The Rhyl Raptors meet on Tuesdays at 5.30pm.
“They’re always looking for people with lower-limb impairments who might want to join. You just need to be able to push the sports wheelchair.”
See full story in the Free Press