Portsmouth trio toasting European success

Great Britain under-24s women's wheelchair team were crowned European champions
Great Britain under-24s women's wheelchair team were crowned European champions
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A trio of Portsmouth-based women's wheelchair basketball talents are celebrating European Championship success.

Maddie Martin, 14, along with sisters Jade and Adele Atkin, 17 and 18 respectively, were part of the Great Britain under-24 side who conquered the continent in Bordeaux, France.

Maddie Martin, 14, was part of the GB under-24s European Championships winning team

Maddie Martin, 14, was part of the GB under-24s European Championships winning team

The team won all five matches played in the competition on their way to lifting the coveted crown.

The trio had to come through training camps to gain selection for the squad, doing their country proud once they reached the tournament.

Castle View Academy pupil Martin’s story is particularly impressive given the fact she was competing for her country at an age group 10 years her senior.

Father, Rob Martin, could not contain his pride when speaking about his daughter's involvement in the run to gold.

He said: 'Maddie has only just turned 14, it's quite an achievement for her to be where she is.

'She qualified to go out as part of the squad having been part of development camps. Maddie was one of the debutants but she got an awful lot of game time out there.

'There was a good mix of experience and youth out there. Fiive of the under-24s have played for the Paralympic team at senior level.

'So for Maddie to get court-time with one of those was a great experience for her.

‘The coaches love her because she is very unselfish in her play. She was the youngest in the squad this time.

'I'm not a very emotional man but when Maddie played in her first game against France, when they played the national anthem, it was just that sudden realisation: "wow, this is where she is". It just sort of hits you.'

Great Britain defeated Germany three times and France on two occasions on their way to claiming the European title.

Martin was not the only representative from Portsmouth in the GB squad, with sisters Jade and Adele Atkin lifting the crown along side her.

Both sisters play for Blackhawks and mother, Kelly Atkin, was full of pride for the pair.

She said: 'I was so proud and chuffed of both of them.

‘It's been amazing for them to achieve what they have done.

'Both girls were selected this time around. Adele has had to work really hard and she has defied all the odds.’