Basketball star Leanne to captain UK team in Shanghai

TOP sports star Leanne Woolfe has been named captain of the Great Britain basketball squad set to compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai next month.

Leanne (30), of Milngavie, will lead a team of eight players — four from Scotland and four from England — at the Games, which run from October 2-11.

The experienced athlete has already claimed bronze and silver medals in basketball events at previous Special Olympics — and this time she wants to bring home a gold.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leanne said: "I was made captain last week. It's the first time I've been given that position and it's a real honour.

"It's a big responsibility because I have to make sure everyone's doing what they should on court but I reckon I'm ready for it. I'm really excited.

"I think I did really well at other Olympics to get a bronze and a silver and I'd love to get gold this time — that's what we have to hope for. But we're not getting carried away — just being selected and getting the chance to go to China is an amazing achievement. We'd still really like to win though!"

Team GB consists of 159 athletes and 50 coaches, with squads competing in 16 disciplines. In total, over 7,000 competitors will represent 160 countries at the 12th Special Olympics Summer Games.

Leanne and the rest of Team GB head to Shanghai this week in order to acclimatise to the humid conditions.

She said: "I've never been away for so long without my family before and I'll miss them.

"But everyone in the team gets on really well and we'll keep each other company. Hopefully I won't get too homesick.

"I'm really looking forward to going to China. It's a totally different culture to anything I've ever experienced. We're going to make time to see some of the sights and I'm sure I'll remember it forever."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leanne's family are thrilled at her success. Mum Debby said: "Leanne's brother Hylton and I are absolutely delighted for her — we're thrilled to bits.

"She's worked incredibly hard for all that she's achieved in basketball. Leanne's incredibly dedicated and focused — an ideal choice for captain.

"It'd be wonderful if Leanne could bring home a medal but all that's important is that she tries her best and enjoys her time in China."