Wheelchair basketball co-captain Phil Pratt ready for World Championships
In less than a week, the world championships of wheelchair basketball will start in Dubai. One player who is looking forward to the event is Great Britain’s co-captain Phil Pratt. Despite having to deal with several on and off-court issues over the past few years, he now feels he is in a happy place.
The road to happiness
Pratt has had his fair share of difficulties throughout his career. His long-time team-mate George Bates was ruled ineligible to continue playing wheelchair basketball, which took an emotional toll on him. Additionally, family illness put extra strain on him.
All these factors led him to make a difficult decision – taking a break from competing and missing out on the Tokyo Paralympics where GB won bronze:
“I just wasn’t in a good spot,” he said. “Since I was 18 or 19, I just had no time to just be Phil Pratt from Cardiff.”
A tough decision pays off
While it was undoubtedly hard for Pratt not being part of the team that competed at Tokyo Paralympic games last year and watching them lose against USA while sitting outside but it gave him much-needed clarity:
“Not being in Tokyo and watching from the outside was weird but it made me more motivated than ever,”
Phil knew what needed attention first – take care of your mental health before going after medals. .
Motivated as ever
The Welshman believes that winning the World Championships and Europeans later this summer is attainable, but he knows that it will come with its challenges. For Phil and his team, there’s a target on their back as they are the defending champions:
“We know we have a target on our back as world champions, everyone plays well against us, but it still feels like we are underdogs,”
Despite being holders of the title, Pratt believes that this year’s championship is one of the most open in recent times.
New coaches bring fresh ideas
This time around both teams have seen coaching changes since Tokyo with Miguel Vaquero Maestre taking over the women’s team and Canadian brothers Bill and Joey Johnson now leading men’s side. According to Phil Pratt:
“Our new coaches have been unbelievable so far. They haven’t completely changed what we are doing – just added to it.”
It seems that having new faces in charge has brought about some positivity within the squad who seem more hopeful than ever before. .
The road ahead
The tournament starts on Friday for Great Britain where both teams hope to bring home gold medals from Dubai. The European Championships will follow in August where Paralympic qualification places will be up for grabs. It’s going to be a busy period for both squads leading up to Tokyo next year.