Maddie Martin has been told: You have the potential to become one of the world’s best women’s wheelchair basketball players.
The Paulsgrove talent has already been earmarked to represent Great Britain at the 2024 Paralympics – despite being just 13.
Martin is part of GB’s under-25 development squad and will represent her country in the junior European and World Championships this summer and next year respectively.
The King Richard pupil has made rapid progress, having only started competing in the sport three years ago.
She recently returned from her second GB Futures camp in Sheffield.
The Year Nine pupil was closely monitored by three senior players, who were impressed with her attributes, passion and work ethic.
And at the end of the three-day camp, coach Dan Price tipped Martin to become a big hit in the future.
Her dad, Rob, spoke of his pride at his daughter’s achievements.
‘We are so proud of Maddie,’ he said.
‘She only started playing wheelchair basketball about three years ago.
‘When she watched wheelchair basketball in the Paralympics she said “that’s what I want to do and want to be” and it’s been her dream ever since.
‘It took us around three years to find her a club but she was just a natural.
‘When she was at a GB Futures camp last year, they had an end-of-camp review.
‘Dan’s parting comment was he can see her developing into the world’s best women’s wheelchair basketball player in the future.
‘After going up to Sheffield again, they saw a massive transformation in Maddie’s ability.
‘She took on board everything they had told her previously.
‘While I was there Dan pulled me to one side and said if Maddie was two weeks older she’d be in the 2020 Paralympic squad, and she’s the top priority for 2024.
‘They were all impressed with her attributes, attitude and passion for the sport.
‘If Maddie was born two weeks earlier, she was told she’d be in contention to go to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo and that she could become one of the world’s best players.
‘When I was told that, I was beaming for weeks and weeks.
‘It makes you so proud because Maddie has chosen something she really enjoys.
‘Pride is an understatement, although she’s not cocky about it and doesn’t realise how good she is.’
When Martin turns 14 in July, she’s able to play adult wheelchair basketball. It will mean a lot more travelling for the family across the country.
Rob has asked for any donations to help continue his daughter’s cause.
He added: ‘Her last trip alone to Sheffield cost me about £300 for a three-day camp.
‘I had to have four days off work and she’s back up there next month.
‘Every penny will be appreciated and I’d be happy to provide any information and updates to anyone.’
To donate to Martin’s cause, visit gofundme.com/maddies-gb-paralympic-dream