Gregg Warburton is one of the young top talents of the GB national squad and made it to his first Paralympics at the age of only 19 years. We are sure, that we will see a lot more of his outstanding performance in the near future. Make sure to watch this great athlete at the world championships in Hamburg in August. Besides travelling the world for wheelchair basketball camps and playing GB premier division with the Oldham Owls, Gregg took the time to answer a few questions about his career and the upcoming event in Hamburg.
Gregg, you started playing wheelchair basketball at the age of only 10 years and have been very successful with the junior and senior national squad. What is the greatest memory you made with the national team so far?
I’ve been very lucky so far, in my relatively short career, to experience a lot of success with both junior and senior national squads and I have been extremely lucky to play alongside and against some of the greatest talents in our sport.
I think the two things that stand out to me the most are competing and representing my country at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at just 19 years old, which I never thought possible, winning the bronze medal in an amazing game.
Alongside that for me is winning the Junior U23 World Championships last June, especially after coming up short in the previous Junior World Championships when I missed the final shot of the bronze medal game on the buzzer (which would have taken it to overtime). To lead the Team as captain four years later was a great honour. To help GB win gold and be named the tournament MVP brought a lot of closure and sense of pride.
Will there be major changes on the GB squad for the world championship 2018? What are the team goals and your personal goals for the worlds this year?
It’s impossible for me to say if there will be any changes to the squad for the upcoming senior World Championships. However, the amount of young guys we have coming through our programme is a testament to British Wheelchair Basketball and our junior programme. Several of the players who represented GB at the last U23 World Championships are now pushing for a spot in the team.
The all round strength in depth that we have around the squad, not to mention the blend of vast experience and younger players will put us in good stead to be as competitive as possible at the 2018 World Championships. I do not envy Head Coach Haj Bhania’s difficult selection decisions that he has coming up.
Our goal as always is gold. We couldn’t play the sport if we aimed for anything other than to win. I feel performing to our potential, implementing the way we want to play and showing how hard we’ve worked as a squad is also a key goal and will give us the best chance to be as competitive as possible. Hopefully ending in a gold medal.
How do you prepare for the world championships? How often is the team practicing together?
It is quite a unique time for the GB senior men’s programme at the moment – we have many players competing in the top leagues and teams across Europe, and also an amazing centralised programme in Sheffield where many of our top athletes practice 4/5 days a week every week.
This gives the squad a perfect blend of experienced guys playing at the highest level week in week out and also a huge amount of hours of access to our world class coaching and facilities. When we are together we’re working extremely hard individually and as a team to be the best we can be and maximise our chances for the world championships and beyond.
Thank you for your time, Gregg, and good luck for the upcoming world championships!
Thank you very much, no problem at all and we look forward to the continued support and to see you all in the near future.
Interview: Annika Aul | Photo: Jenniver Röczey