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Billy's Story

2nd December 2022


To celebrate International Day of the Disabled Person 2022 -  recently caught up with Team GB’s Billy, who shared his thoughts on competing at the Paralympics, and his plans for life after sport... 

Growing up, how did you become involved in sport and was it always a smooth progression to the top? 

Growing up with a disability it was difficult for me to participate in sport with my friends, I tried my best, but it was never enjoyable but more of a burden. It was at the age of 12 when my mother noticed my mental health was being affected due to this, she looked around for disability sports clubs. It was then we found a local wheelchair basketball team in the area and one Saturday went to try it out. I instantly fell in love with the game, it made me feel normal and on equal playing levels with those around me. The speed and skill level were like nothing I had seen before. It was 2 years later at the age of 14 I was invited to a GB junior training camp, from then until now with the exception of a few breaks. In-between it’s been nothing but hard work and training. I’ve sacrificed many things, from family events, birthdays, holidays, but winning that bronze medal in Tokyo made it all worth it. It hasn’t been an easy ride achieving what I have in the sport, there have been many times I felt like giving up, or I felt I wasn’t good enough, but I stuck with it and continued to work hard, and the rewards came. 

Are you happy to chat about your disability? 

Being born with spina bifida made me the man I am today, it made me stronger and more determined to prove to the world I am capable of achieving whatever I want. I was raised in a family and community that never treated me any different than an able-bodied child, all the same rules and principles applied, I believe this gave me my “get on with it” attitude. I am the youngest of 4 and my siblings and me were all treated exactly the same by my mother, disability or no disability. I have a great support network of friends and family that really pushed and inspired me to excel. 

What was the Paralympic experience like, especially with the Covid restrictions? 

Ever since I started playing wheelchair basketball my main ambition was to compete at a Paralympic Games for Great Britain, last summer I was able to make that dream a reality. The experience was surreal, no matter how much I dreamt of how good it would feel, the reality topped it in every aspect. The pride I felt putting the jersey on was something I had never felt before. It was a little different with there being no fans due to Covid restrictions, but the Japanese helpers and staff made it feel like the venues were full. They were tremendously friendly and helpful, it truly was something I will never forget. 

What are your post sport career plans? 

I’m planning on finishing my degree in the next couple of years and looking at life after basketball. I would like a job teaching or working with disabled children, it’s a passion of mine. I’m really thankful for my time in the sport and it’s given me some great memories and friends for life. But I think it’s time to start looking ahead soon…  

I also have an important spinal operation that is overdue that I would like to get sorted, nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing. Whenever I speak to younger children with disability’s I always try to drill into them how important it is to look after yourself and your body. 


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