Lucy Robinson says Great Britain’s women's wheelchair basketball team should settle for nothing less than gold at next year’s Paralympic Games, writes Sportsbeat's Ben Hart.
Robinson, 24, from Montsorrell, made her games debut in Tokyo as Paralympics GB finished seventh having just missed out on a medal in Rio five years previously.
Robinson, who has put her teaching career on hold to focus on basketball, is hoping to be the star pupil in Paris next summer.
“I want to be a key part of the team, and really go and smash it and look to win,” said Robinson, who broke her hip while roller skating at the age of 12.
“My mindset has completely shifted. I want to help the team medal now.
“We’ve got one more major championship to get through this year so we have to keep the focus on the here and now before Paris.
"It will be good to see where the team is at before the Paralympics.”
Robinson was chuffed to merely make the team last time out but is determined to help them fulfil their potential this time round.
“I think there’s been a shift in my personality in the last two years where I know what I want and know what we are capable of,” she said.
“Being in a team sport I know I can’t do it by myself and so have tried to change how I am and to be more of a leader to help get us there because I know we can do it.
“I’m 100% committed to getting us over the line, we can definitely do it.”
Robinson suspects her team will be more resilient than ever wby Paris.
With the side forced to return home early from the European Championships due to Covid-19 before missing out on the World Championships for the same reason, she says they know all too well the importance of seizing the moment.
“With all that’s happened we’ve had to get mentally tough,” she said.
“We don’t always know what’s coming so it’s about constantly being ready for the next thing.
“I think we can get gold. We came so close at Rio and then in Tokyo there was Covid and a lot of things happened.
“I don’t think Tokyo was a reflection of how good we are, I think Paris will show that.”
Robinson is one of over 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for her pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.
With the Paris 2024 Paralympics only one year away, the Games are set to inspire people and communities all across the country. Robinson hopes that by sharing her story it will give others motivation to get involved into sport.
Looking further ahead, Robinson is determined to grow the sport’s participation numbers.
In 2019, British Wheelchair Basketball unveiled their five-year strategy which promised a fundamental transformation of the sport and its wider public perception.
Robinson hopes Paralympic success can help accelerate that growth.
“Every team I’ve been involved in is such a close-knit community,” she said.
“When you play games you know everyone and you go out for dinner together after.
“It’s a big family and it’s now about spreading that message to get more people into the sport.
“That is so important to us and it’s exciting to think what the future will hold for the sport.”
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