Thatcham's Kayla Bell 'overwhelmed' after being selected to represent Great Britain at Paralympic Games in Tokyo
Thatcham athlete Kayla Bell has expressed her delight at being selected to represent Great Britain at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo for the very first time.
The 24-year-old has been selected in the women’s wheelchair basketball team and will compete at the games in Tokyo, which begin on August 24.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Paralympics were delayed a year and as a result take place this summer.
Bell, who will be making her debut at the Paralympic Games, said: “I am so humbled to be selected, it’s crazy and I still can’t believe it.
“It is always a privilege to put the Great Britain vest on and it’s so unique being able to put it on for my first Paralympic Games.
“It has been a crazy year, what with the pandemic and everything, and I can’t wait to get out there and get going.”
It’s not the first time that she has represented her country as she was part of the squad that won silver in both the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg and the European Championships in 2019.
Bell was also in the squad that won bronze in the U25 World Championships in Thailand earlier this year.
“I think coming off some senior appearances in the Worlds and the European Championships will give me an element of experience,” admitted the 24-year-old.
“However, it is another kettle of fish to be able to represent Paralympics GB because it’s been a crazy year and it with all the coronavirus rules, nobody knows what to expect, but it’s going to be exciting.
“I am so humbled to be able to go and despite all the restrictions, it’s amazing to be part of the team that can go out to Tokyo and I am overwhelmed.”
The women’s wheelchair basketball team are currently ranked second in the world rankings, therefore making them a leading contender to win gold.
“The biggest aim is to get through the tournament because we all want to go out there, do well and hopefully come back with a medal.”
Bell also believes that it’s a huge opportunity to inspire a new generation of people, given the fact that it’s been tough for many people over the course of the pandemic.
“It is important to inspire and encourage anyone to join our sport, especially the movement that the Paralympics creates because that’s how I got involved.
“I watched the Beijing games and it brought the realisation that I loved the sport and I wanted to compete in, so it’s important to raise the importance of the sport so people can participate.”
After reflected on her achievement, Bell also praised the support she has had from her friends and family.
“The support I have received has been amazing and I am very grateful because I have had to spend a lot of time, particularly recently, away from home.
“I have always had their support and I hope I can make them proud.”