University of Leeds Sports Scholar Jack Perry co-captained the U22 Great Britain wheelchair basketball team to take gold in the Champions Cup, beating the world’s best as a recent international tournament out in Japan.
The International tournament hosted by Japan welcomed Great Britain, Korea and the USA. This was Jacks second time competing in Japan having previously visited with the GB juniors but it was the history students first time leading his team to victory.
‘It was a different experience as I had never captain Great Britain before that tournament but it was great experience especially as we came away winners.’
Jack was a keen footballer when he was younger but developed Perthes disease in his right hip which lead to him needing crutches or a chair as a child. When he was 8 he gave wheelchair basketball ago and has never looked back.
‘My biggest achievement to date was winning the U22 Europeans at the age of 18; we beat our main rivals Germany to claim gold.’
Jack aims to retain the European title next summer with the U22 GB team and is also working hard to secure his place in the senior team. Tokyo 2020 is his ultimate aim and he is on target after being invited to his second senior training camp this winter.
Wheelchair basketball is a sport that started out in the United States helping injured soldiers with rehabilitation and became a Paralympic sport in 1968 at Tel Aviv with the Americans dominating. Here in Britain it has boomed and there are over 65 teams across the country with 9 divisions and a fantastic junior and senior set up. It is a sport that caters for all; there are a range of levels for all disabilities. Athletes are given an eight-level-score specific to wheelchair basketball, ranging from 0.5 to 4.5. Lower scores represented a higher degree of disability. The sum score of all players on the court cannot exceed 14. Jack is a 4.5 so at the top of the score line. Fully able bodied athletes are welcome to play too.
For more information about the sport and how you can get involved check out Great British Wheelchair association.
Our nearest club are the Leeds Spiders who currently play in the top division in the North, they play at Morley Leisure Centre and anyone can go along to watch.