The young British woman got into Para Athletics “to stay fit.” However, she was spotted at a race when she was 12 by Manchester Mavericks’ wheelchair basketball founder, the late Josie Cichockyj. Five years later she made her GB national team debut and today, ten years later, Laurie Williams is one of the absolute greats of British Wheelchair Basketball.
The British team can look back on some impressive successes, most recently the silver medal at the 2019 European Championships in Rotterdam. Although the team did not live up to expectations at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Laurie recalls: “The support at home was simply phenomenal and it was a very special experience to be part of these fantastic games”.
In basketball, Laurie is particularly enthusiastic about the complexity and the challenge of mastering many different aspects of the game. Although she shoots across the court aggressively and ambitiously, Laurie is above all a team player. Before big games it is important for her to be relaxed. She often has a laugh with her teammates for a bit to relax the mood. The determined competitor, who aims to bring home a medal at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, is a very committed and sociable person. Off the court, the social psychology graduate is just beginning to work for a charitable organisation. She is working towards making the public more aware of people with disabilities. Climate protection is also important to her: “I put a lot of passion into doing my part to protect the environment. I want to make my life as eco-friendly as possible and do everything I can to reduce my CO2 footprint”.
Besides her friends and her partner, Robyn Love, Laurie is especially grateful to her parents: “They have always been an important part of my career and have made many sacrifices to get me where I am today. That’s why they are often in my thoughts when I play and try to make them proud.”
If you could choose a player from a different national team to hang out with, who would it be and why?
“Phew, there are so many incredible players right now and at the same time I admire the pioneers who have made the sport what it is today. I’d love to hang out with so many, it’s hard to pick just one.”
What are the characteristics of the GB national team?
“Our unyielding defence. We want to make sure that our opponents bite their teeth out at us to the point of exhaustion and that they are horrified to play against us. What also makes us special is the close friendships and the team spirit amongst us players.”
This portrait was published in Rollt. #22 (June 2019) in German language.
Text: Grischa Beißner | Photo: Steffie Wunderl | Translation support: Dylan Cummings