Consett basketballer makes Olympic squad
CHANTELLE Handy will be part of basketball history this summer when she competes in the first British team to take part in a women's Olympic competition.
Handy, who is from Consett, was one of 12 female basketballers selected for Team GB yesterday.
The 25-year-old, who plays her club basketball in Greece, is one the senior members of the British squad, having made her international debut more than five years ago.
"It is an honour to be selected in the final 12," said Handy, who travelled to the United States to study on a basketballing scholarship at the age of 18.
"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."
The only slight surprise in the British squad is the inclusion of emerging talent Temi Fagbenle, who spent last year with the under-20s.
The 19-year-old forward has been forced to sit out her first season at Harvard University in the United States because of an academic rule, but the Baltimore-born player has made the cut for the Games.
Yesterday's team announcement comes at the end of a week in which Britain defeated the Czech Republic, a team who are ranked 45 places above them in the world rankings in fourth.
Britain qualified for the EuroBasket tournament for the first time in 2011 and have recently beaten South Korea, Argentina and Canada, all ranked above them, in the build-up to the Olympic tournament.
They are due to play preparatory matches against Angola, Australia and France in Sheffield before meeting reigning gold medallists USA in Manchester.
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."
GREAT BRITAIN'S OLYMPIC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE:
Saturday, July 28 Great Britain vs Australia (10.15pm)
Monday, July 30 Great Britain vs Qualifier (8pm)
Wednesday, August 1 Great Britain vs Russia (4.45pm)
Friday, August 3 Great Britain vs Qualifier (8pm)
Sunday, August 5 Great Britain vs Brazil (10.15pm)
* The identity of the qualifier will be determined at a qualifying tournament in Turkey that starts on Monday.