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Cardiff Met named as new high performance wheelchair basketball partner as first ever Women’s Premier League is launched

News | 20 April, 2021

British Wheelchair Basketball has today announced Cardiff Metropolitan University as one of four High Performance Partnerships and home to a franchise in the sport’s inaugural Women’s Premier League.

The British Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Premier League will be the first of its kind for women’s wheelchair basketball in the world and the very first professional para-sport league in the UK.

The introduction of the league is a game-changing moment for the sport and will attract the world’s best wheelchair basketball players, signposting the UK as a destination for high level, quality competition for aspiring female talent. The first season will run from January to May 2022.

Discussing Cardiff Met’s selection as one of British Wheelchair Basketball’s High-Performance Partnerships, the university’s Director of Sport, Ben O’Connell, said: "Following a rigorous application and interview process, we are delighted to be awarded one of the four inaugural High-Performance Programmes (HPP) for British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB). 

"This recognition identifies our University as a centre of excellence for disabled athletes and builds on our already well-established partnership with Disability Sport Wales. It is also testament to the quality of our existing holistic basketball programme that sees Men, Women & Wheelchair athletes competing at the highest levels in both National & Student leagues. Working in partnership with BWB, we aim to attract a greater number of students and elite level athletes to Cardiff Met, and support the performance aspirations of the National Governing Body on the global stage.  

"The addition of the HPP is a further demonstration of the University’s commitment to inclusion and diversity and we are excited to increase participation and continue to attract the highest level of disabled athletes as we look ahead to the Paralympic and Commonwealth Games."

The creation of the Women’s Premier League is integral to British Wheelchair Basketball’s 12-year strategy, which set out bold targets of delivering a Professional Domestic League, developing a world-class high-performance system and doubling participation in the sport.

To meet this ambition, British Wheelchair Basketball today announced the four High-Performance Partnerships, operating at university sites across the UK. The universities will each be home to a Women’s Premier League team, with franchises based at:

Cardiff Metropolitan University
Loughborough University
University of East London
University of Worcester

The High-Performance Partnerships will be centres of excellence for wheelchair basketball in the UK for both men and women. These Partnerships will develop and nurture wheelchair basketball talent, acting as hubs to incubate and develop future elite athletes and increase access to the Paralympic talent pathways across the UK.

Lisa Pearce, British Wheelchair Basketball’s Chief Executive, said: "I am absolutely delighted to be announcing the creation of British Wheelchair Basketball’s Women’s Premier League and our new High-Performance Partnerships. The league will provide incredible opportunities for elite female talent, both in the UK and internationally and we expect the teams to attract the best players in the world.

"We have selected four fantastic universities to become the first British Wheelchair Basketball High-Performance Partnerships and these hubs will be absolutely central to the sport as we work to deliver our World Class Performance Programme strategy. They will nurture talent and facilitate the opportunity for world-class athletes to adopt a dual career approach.

"Today is an important moment in achieving our big ambitions for the sport and working with the universities is central to raising the profile of the sport, building new audiences and creating more opportunities for people to play across all levels."

The High-Performance Partnerships are now recruiting elite players for their Women’s Premier League teams and their university BUCS teams.

To find out more, visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/womens-premier-league