WITH wedding bells still ringing in her ears, Kirsty Wallace will be hoping to make it a double celebration later this month when she makes her international wheelchair basketball debut at the BT Paralympic World Cup.
Wallace will be making her first appearance as part of a 12-strong Great Britain women’s team that will take on Germany, Canada and Japan at the tournament in Manchester starting on May 23.
At last year’s World Cup Team GB finished a disappointing fourth out of four in the round robin format, a result that they will certainly be looking to improve this time around.
And the 31-year-old, who tied the knot as recently as May 1, the same weekend as the royal wedding, admits she cannot wait to swap her wedding gown for a GB international shirt.
“It really has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for me, it’s all sort of come together in a rush but I’m really excited about pulling on the shirt for the first time,” she said.
“It was during the selection camp that I found out that I had been picked and I was delighted to be given the opportunity, now I need to prove my worth.
“My wedding was the week after the camp but luckily all that’s out of the way now and I can get back to focusing on basketball.
“The coach (Garry Peel) has been a bit adventurous with his selections for this World Cup, there are a few new faces in the team and I can’t wait to get on with it.
“But he (Peel) has made it clear to us that this is an opportunity, not a promise of future selection, there’s not a chance that I’m not going to get complacent now.”
It will certainly not be an easy start to international competition for Wallace when she faces off against Germany, second in the world rankings, and Canada who are third.
But Lieutenant Wallace, who is a serving officer in the Royal Navy on board HMS Sultan, is adamant that her team have enough quality to sink the opposition.
“It is a great chance for me to test myself against some of the best players in the world but as a team we know that you have to beat the best to be the best,” said the former Leeds University student.
“This tournament is a stepping stone to London 2012 and we want to prove we can achieve our target of medalling there, that all starts here.”
The BT Paralympic World Cup is taking place in Manchester from 23-28 May with elite international athletes competing in Swimming, Athletics and Wheelchair Basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for tickets and more informationTags: Kirsty Wallace, Paralympic World Cup, wheelchair basketball