GB’s Warburton targets European Wheelchair Basketball gold

Sport

Great Britain wheelchair basketball player Gregg Warburton says he would take team glory over individual honours at this week’s European Championships.

The 22-year-old from Lancashire won the most valuable player award at last year’s World Championships as GB won a historic gold medal.

And with Paralympic qualification up for grabs in Poland, Warburton wants to help his side achieve more success.

“I’m here to win gold and do what I can for the team,” he told.

“If that gets me or a team-mate an individual accolade then that’s a bonus, but the gold medal is what I am there for.

“To win MVP last year was an amazing feeling and I was very honoured but I feel like, when I look back on my career, I will judge myself on team success rather than individual honours.”

The GB men need to finish in the top four at the tournament to join the women’s team who have already secured their place at Tokyo 2020 after they finished runners-up in their Europeans in July.

The squad, which includes 10 of the players who won gold last year and is again coached by Haj Bhania, start their campaign against Italy on Saturday followed by games against Switzerland, Austria, hosts Poland and Germany before the knock-out stages.

But despite winning a first world senior gold last year, Warburton, who has been playing professionally for the past year in Spain, knows the GB team cannot rest on their laurels as they bid to hold two major international titles for the first time.

“It is important to try to put last year out of our minds and restart,” he admitted.

“We do need to use that as foundation but it is definitely important to be better than last year. As good as we were last year, that won’t be good this year or even next year. We have to constantly keep improving to keep doing better.

“This is unchartered territory for us. We’ve never had that success on the world scene before and it is learning process for all of us but Haj has got a lot of experience.

“It was great to see the women get their Paralympic place and hopefully we can follow suit.

“But while it will be good to get that qualifying place, but we are totally focussed on winning that gold medal.”