Veteran Chantelle Handy is determined to protect the legacy she has helped create with Great Britain basketball as the team prepares to head to China to battle for Olympic qualification.
And she is desperate for the younger players on coach Chema Buceta’s team to experience what she did at the 2012 Games.
Handy, 32, is one of five players – with Jo Leedham, Temi Fagbenle, Stef Collins and Rachael Vanderwal – who appeared in London eight years ago.
Of course, she wants another taste of the Olympics – but she is also determined to keep the GB basketball flame burning for future generations.
The forward, from Consett, Durham, said: “To make it to make it to one Olympic Games is an amazing experience. And to be able to do it at home, as we did in London in 2012, and to enjoy that amazing atmosphere in front of our own fans, is something that might not be bettered. It is hard to describe what that meant.
“But it makes us who were there even more determined to get there again and to be able to help some younger players who weren’t in London to be able to have that fantastic experience.”
Handy, who plays club basketball for Castors Braine in Belgium, added: “Everyone knows we have done a lot of what we have done without funding, though we do have some now.
“But what we do on the court is about the culture we have built and trying to instill it in the next generation.
“A lot of what motivates us is keeping GB basketball alive so the younger players can come in and take it over and carry on what we have started when we leave.”
GB face hosts China, Spain and Korea when they travel to Foshun for games on February 6, 7 and 9.
Handy is wise and experienced enough to know it won’t be easy.
But, with the top three from the group going through to the Tokyo Games in the summer, she is upbeat about their chances.
“We are really excited,” she said. “It’s going to be a tough, tough group but getting to the Olympics is tough, it’s to be expected.
“We will work out the best way for us to approach it and go for it.”
Basketball England has launched a campaign called All Girls to engage more women and girls with our sport as fans, players, coaches, officials, volunteers and ambassadors.
Use the hashtag #AllGirls to celebrate the Great Britain Women’s team as they bid for Olympic qualification and to shout about female events, successes and stories at your club, school or college or in your region.
Find out more about the campaign here.
26 May 2022