WARWICKSHIRE Bears player Dan Gill helped Team Great Britain to basketball bronze at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
After being injured in Afghanistan, Dan started his basketball career with the Bears in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength, helping the county side to gain promotion whilst moving up through the various teams.
It was a fitting reward when Dan won selection for this year’s GB squad for the Invictus Games – an international adaptive multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing.
GB won all of their group games, beating New Zealand, Australia and Denmark, which put them into a semi-final against a strong Holland team.
GB were beaten by the Dutch, but still had the chance to win a medal in the third/fourth place play-off against Denmark.
In a tough battle, the Brits came out on top, with Dan emerging as leading scorer for the British team. The USA won gold and the Dutch silver.
On returning home, Dan relayed his thoughts on the experience: “Competing in the Invictus Games was a massive honour for me to represent my country on a massive stage.
“To come away with a bronze was amazing. As a team we did amazingly well. I couldn’t have done it without help along the way from my family, my local team Bears Wheelchair Basketball Club and the lads at Coalition Performance, so a massive thank you to all these people!
“To have my new-born daughter there was unreal. Many thanks to everyone for their support along the way!”
Bears head coach Tom Masterson said: “As a team, we are immensely proud of Dan and what he has achieved. With the progress he has made within the Bears club and also being selected for Invictus this year, it has been astounding, and it’s all credit to his hard work and dedication.
“Hopefully another ex-service person will be inspired by Dan and the amazing Invictus team and will put themselves forward for future Invictus Games.”
THERE was further celebration for the Bears on Saturday when the club’s 3rd team played their first game in the National League at Wolverhampton WSC.
Although suffering a heavy defeat against a tough and experienced Wolverhampton team, it was an opportunity to gain much-needed experience for the newer players who made up the bulk of the Bears side.
With junior players Aaron Grant, Jack Sheehy and Lydia Brocklebank making their debuts, the Bears found the game tough from the start, but kept battling to the end in a 58-23 loss.
Bears 3rds coach Jacob Robinson said: “It is always tough to start the season with a loss but, considering that it is a new group of players who have never really played together as a team before outside of a training environment, it is impossible to be disappointed.
“Everyone played with passion and determination and we have come away with plenty to work on. This will allow us to build and grow as a team as the season goes on.”
All three Bears teams are in action on Sunday against London Titans 2 and 3 and in the return fixture against Wolverhampton WSC at Warwickshire College, Stratford Road, Henley. The first game starts at 11am and spectators are welcome.
Bears welcome experienced players and complete beginners to their training sessions at Warwickshire College sports hall in Henley on Tuesday evenings. Contact Masterson on 07946 518354 for details.