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Laurie is ready for World Cup challenge
4:54pm Monday 30th April 2012 in Trafford Sport
ALTRINCHAM wheelchair basketballer Laurie Williams insists Britain have a fight on their hands to defend their BT Paralympic World Cup title – but insists she wouldn’t want it any other way.
The 20-year-old is set to face Paralympic and world champions America, European title holders Germany as well as Australia in Manchester – 12 months on from helping Britain to a first-ever gold.
Williams and co have been busy with their preparations, welcoming Germany and France to Sheffield for the inaugural Tri-Nations Cup over Easter – finishing as runners-up to the former.
But Williams – who made her international debut at the World Cup in 2009 – knows their success last year will count for nothing with America and Australia replacing Japan and Canada this time.
“This year will be different than any other year because of the teams participating,” said Williams. “The USA are world and Olympic champions so they’re definitely the team to beat.
“Germany won’t be far off them too and we’ve never beaten the Australians either so the competition will be tough, but we want to contend and win it for the second year running.
“We’ve started training a lot harder and we’re pretty confident. Although we didn’t win the Tri-Nations we showed people what we’re capable of by beating Germany and France.”
With the Paralympics following three months after the World Cup you could forgive Williams, who was part of Britain’s European bronze-medal winning team last year, for looking towards London.
However Williams insists the trip to Manchester for the annual multi-sport event acts as a key part of Britain’s preparations to better their finish of eighth from the last Paralympics in Beijing in 2008.
“Obviously London 2012 is coming up but we’re only looking at the Paralympic World Cup for now and working hard towards it,” added Williams.
“But it’s all preparation for the Paralympics. Even if we don’t win it’s still important we come out of it having performed well.
“It’s important to know what we’re capable of because we’re aiming for a medal at the Paralympics. The mentality of the team is to aim for nothing less.
“We came eighth last time and we know we can do a lot better. To make the final would be amazing.”
The BT Paralympic World Cup is taking place in Manchester from 22-26 May 22 to 26 with elite international athletes competing in Athletics, Football 7-aside and Wheelchair Basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for tickets and more information.
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