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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball player and World & European Champion, George Bates, joins BRIT

We are delighted that George has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.

George has represented Great Britain and won gold at the World Championships and European Championships. He has also won a European Championship Men’s Senior silver medal and an U22 gold medal.

George Bates - World and European Champion

“Having lived with a disability since sustaining injuries when I was younger, that left me unable to walk unaided and with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and having trained and played with young athletes for the past 10 years, I know first-hand how challenging life can be for so many young adults; particularly those with disabilities who are struggling with their mental health. COVID-19 is compounding the existing mental health challenges faced by many young people and students; especially those who are vulnerable, isolated or live with disabilities.

Support from charities is so important to help improve young adult mental health and I am delighted that the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) have partnered with PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and The Charlie Waller Trust this year, so that all donations raised through the BRIT 2021 Challenge will be shared equally between the five charities. Raising awareness of support services and help is also vitally important and it’s great to see that BRIT are also signposting and raising awareness of Samaritans and Shout.

The BRIT 2021 Challenge is an opportunity for students and young adults throughout the UK to unite wherever they are (at home or on campus) and take part in a feel-good and fun team challenge to raise vital funds for charities who support young adult mental health; the challenge is inclusive and this means that young adults and students of all abilities can take part to improve their mental health and fitness.

Every UK university, college and students’ union have been invited to enter teams in the BRIT 2021 Challenge, promote the event and encourage their students and staff to participate. Once a team has registered, every student, young adult and staff member can decide how much distance they want to add to their team’s 2,021 mile target.

I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and urge Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to join m. By uniting as athletes, we can inspire more universities and colleges throughout the UK to embrace the BRIT 2021 Challenge, enter teams and raise vital funds.

I look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at Loughborough College as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge”.

George was born in Leicester and loved sport from a young age, playing football, cricket and golf.

In 2006, George suffered an injury playing football that resulted in him developing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in his left leg and leaving him unable to walk unaided.

George was introduced to wheelchair basketball in 2008, after seeing a poster for a taster session.

After school, he attended Loughborough College between 2011 and 2013.

He started playing at his local team, Leicester Cobras, and by 2012, George was training with the Great Britain Under 23 team.

In 2013, George played in the Under 23 World Championships where Great Britain finished 4th after losing to Australia in the bronze medal game. The following year, George won gold as part of the Great Britain Under 22 team at the European Championships in Zaragoza, Spain.

After this success, George signed professionally for Porto Torres who are based in Sardinia, Italy.

In 2017, George was selected to represent Great Britain in the Senior Team and won silver at the European Championships in Tenerife, Spain.

A year later, George won gold at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. He finished the final as the joint top scorer.

George then moved to Badajoz to play for Mideba Extremadura in the Spanish League. In his first season with the club, he won the accolade of top scorer in the league.

In 2019, George won gold at the 2019 European Championships in Walbrzych, Poland. This meant the team qualified for the 2021 Paralympic Games.

Throughout George’s 10 year wheelchair basketball career, he has been classified as a 4.5 point player. In 2020, due to rule changes in the classification code made by the International Paralympic Committee, the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation were told that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome was deemed to be a non-eligible impairment. George would therefore not be able to compete for Great Britain at the forthcoming Paralympic Games. George has appealed against their decision and is waiting to hear back to find out if he can represent Great Britain; it has been his long-term goal to win Paralympic gold.


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