COVENTRY Crusaders wheelchair basketball star Sarah Hope is gearing up to break new ground in women’s sport as she prepares to once again represent her country in Para Ice Hockey.
Sarah called time on her international career in wheelchair basketball earlier this year, with her highlights including representing Great Britain at the World Championships.
Sarah also plays for Coventry in the national wheelchair basketball league.
There has been a push for an international women’s event in recent years and this led to the creation of the GB Women’s Para Ice Hockey programme last October, of which Sarah is now a part of.
As well as recruiting from the existing UK para ice hockey league, the programme invited new athletes to try out, and knowing that her international wheelchair basketball retirement was approaching Sarah decided to apply.
She is one of 15 players to be selected for next month’s World Para Ice Hockey Women’s World Challenge in Wisconsin.
This tournament will be the sport’s first formal International Paralympic Committee women’s tournament.
Sarah is no stranger to breaking new ground in women’s disability sport having captained Worcester Wolves in the inaugural British Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Premier League earlier this year, the first competition of its kind in the world.
Sarah also plays in the UK Para Ice Hockey league for Peterborough Phantoms, which runs between May and September- fitting in perfectly with the Wheelchair Basketball off-season months.
Sarah said: “I love para ice hockey as it’s such a fast-paced, physical, exciting sport.
“I see it as the basketball of the Winter Paralympics, but there is a much smaller hockey community in the UK compared to other countries.
“This upcoming tournament is the first stage in getting women’s para ice hockey into the Paralympics so a fairly crucial time for women’s sport.
“The programme and individual athletes are looking for sponsors, and I’d ask any individuals or companies that might want to help to please get in touch.”