After winning the gold medal at the inaugural 2011 Women’s U25 World Championship in St Catharine’s, Canada, but then not taking part four years later in Beijing, China, Team USA are back again and heading to Thailand.
Hoping to help them have a successful tournament is 2016 Rio Paralympic gold medallist Abigail (Abby) Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, who despite only playing for six years is a veteran presence on the roster.
Dunkin said, “Our aim for any Championship tournament is always high. I believe as long as we take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”
She knows it won’t be an easy task though:
“Every team competing will bring great competition, and I know we won’t take any team lightly. Great Britain has a phenomenal development pipeline and have players that are also on their senior team. Annabelle Lindsay (AUS) brings a lot to Australia, as I have played with her during my collegiate career, I know she will be a strong threat. It’s hard to pinpoint which teams will come out on top, but I’m excited to see everyone compete.”
The 23-year-old found wheelchair basketball after seeing videos of the sport at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and hasn’t looked back since. She has already participated for USA at senior level at Zonal Championships, a World Championship and a Paralympic Games. However, this will be her debut at the U25 competition, and she is excited to be a part of it.
Dunkin said, “I’m extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to play at U25 level as it opens the door for more experience, and to also develop a bond with my teammates that are in our senior team and those in our development pipeline. The U25 Women’s World Championships are crucial for young women players throughout the globe, and it goes to show that women in this sport as a whole will only face more success.
“Being able to represent the United States with this group of young women that are full of potential is pretty special. I’m excited to take the court with this team and this coaching staff, in hopes of representing Team USA to the best of our abilities on and off the court.
“It’s always a great honour to wear my country across my chest and compete with athletes from around the world. For a lot of my teammates, this will be their first international competition, and their first time being able to put on a USA jersey. I’m really looking forward to being able to be a part of their first time, and I hope we can make it a great first time.”
Image courtesy of NWBA