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5 minutes with basketball player Ella Clark
The Standard Life GB Women’s Basketball team were selected this week for the European Championships and in the squad for the first time is 21 year old Ella Clark.
Making her transition from U20’s basketball to the senior game, we caught up with the London born basketball player in France to see how she was feeling ahead of the biggest tournament of her career so far.
Hi Ella, congratulations on your first senior selection for the GB team, how does it feel to be a part of the squad?
It feels great to be picked, it’s a really good opportunity for me and I’m very excited to be a member of the team around a lot of great people and great athletes all day.
Being a part of the U20’s, have you previously trained much with the senior team or is it all a bit new?
No its all a bit new, I’ve only trained before with Chantelle (Handy) as part of the futures programme.
What is the transition like from playing with the U20’s to now the senior game? Do you really notice a difference in the standard and quality of the game?
There is a big difference in terms of the physicality of the game. When you come across the older players its different in terms of skills – they probably wont miss if they have a shot whereas U20’s it can be a bit more hit and miss!
How do you combine your basketball commitments with everyday life?
At the moment I train full time because I’m at college in the States so it goes alongside my studies. I’ve just finished my third year and I have two more years to go so I’ll be able to keep it up full time.
You’re in France at the moment, ready for the Euros, when did you arrive?
We got here on Wednesday it was a 16 hour journey because of all the strikes!
Oh no! How’s the training going so far for the tournament?
We had our first training session yesterday. There are no injuries, everyone is pretty much healthy.
Who would you say in the tournament are GB’s biggest threats?
Probably France. They came second in the Olympics last year so they are big competition and we lost to them last year so it will be a big mental battle.
And I’m guessing, playing in France that their home support will only make them a stronger team to play?
So now you are a part of the senior team, what are you most looking forward to?
The experience of the Euros. I’ve never been in a competition surrounded by all professional players before and I just want to take on everything that is around me, bring it into my game which will hopefully help me.
Is there anyone that you’ve always looked up to on the GB team who inspires you?
Our captian Kim (Butler). I can relate to her and she’s so easy to approach as a person, so can help me out when I need it.
What is the toughest thing that you have faced so far in your career?
A couple of years ago I had a stress fracture in my right leg and I had to also have shoulder surgery all in one year so that wasn’t the greatest year!
The shoulder thing was terrible, but actually my stress fracture really got me panicking because it was all to do with the mechanics of how I play.
Moving away from the low points, what have been your career highlights so far?
Definitely it was winning Division B in the European Championships with U20’s in 2010. It gave me so much confidence.
So what’s next for the senior team after the Euros?
This is the pinnacle tournament for this year. Next year, depending on how we do this year, will be the qualifiers or into the World Championships.
And what about Rio? Do you dare look that far ahead?
Definitely it’s there in the thought book. It’s a long way to go until Rio especially with all the qualifying tournaments that we’ve got to do before we get there.
The Standard Life GB Women’s Basketball team begin their European Championship campaign tomorrow (Saturday 15 June) against Serbia.
To keep up to date with all the results visit: www.eurobasketwomen2013.com
Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine