GOING from eighth place to the podium in just four years might seem like too much to ask, but that isn’t stopping Altrincham’s Laurie Williams from aiming high at London 2012.
The 20-year-old wheelchair basketball player will make her Paralympic debut in London, having been a reserve for Beijing 2008, watching on as Great Britain’s women finished eighth.
But this time around she is set for a far more active role, having been part of the team that won European Championship bronze for the third successive occasion in Israel last year.
The draw hasn’t been too kind for Williams and co, with games against Beijing bronze medallists Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil and Canada on the agenda – the latter having finished the 2010
World Championships in third.
But after getting one over reigning Paralympic and world champions USA in their preparation for London 2012, Williams is convinced Britain’s fortunes will change in the capital.
“It’s amazing. I was only a reserve in Beijing, so it’s brilliant to be fully involved this time around,” she said. “Training has been going pretty well. We went to America in June.
“It was a bit of an experimental week but we beat the USA for the first time in a decade. They’re the reigning world champions and it was a close match, but we came out on top 48-46.
“It was a bit worrying that we didn’t win all our matches out there, but we still feel we’re on track to peak in London. It’s difficult to say how good our chances are though.
“All the teams are quite evenly matched, and anyone can beat anyone on a good day. We’re capable of winning the gold, and bronze is certainly within our reach.
“We haven’t got an easy pool, but there isn’t really any such thing in our event, and the other pool looks even harder.”
She added: “Being a home Games makes it even more special. Most of our matches are at the North Greenwich Arena, and the stadium is massive. It’ll be amazing having thousands of people cheering us on.”
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