Published

21 January 2022

Emerging talent Emily Branthwaite has joined the East London Phoenix ahead of the inaugural Women’s Premier League season.

The 16-year-old started playing wheelchair basketball at the age of 9 after watching her dad play and featured in her Under 15s regionals just two years later. Emily has since gone on to represent England and is seen as one to watch for the Phoenix this season.

The Cumbrian recently started playing for Wakefield Whirlwinds in the Women's League which caught the eye of the Phoenix management.

Coach Michael Hanson-Morris said, "Over the past couple of months, I have identified a couple of areas I wanted to be stronger in as a team and Emily's skill set fits with some of those needs really well.

"Having development opportunities is always key for the next generation of players and the opportunity to train and compete week in, week out, is going to help expedite the growth Emily has shown in the early part of this season for both Lancaster and Wakefield."

Outside of sport, Emily is studying construction, engineering and business at specialist college Energy Coast UTC.

The East London Phoenix will be one of four Women’s British Wheelchair Basketball franchises starting in the Premier League this month.

They are based at the University of East London and players will be able to take advantage of bespoke facilities while playing their games in London's Docklands.

The league will be the first of its kind, and players like Emily are seen to be an example of why the league is an exciting new opportunity for the sport.

Director of Sport James Kilden said, "It's going to show the women that play the sport and aspiring girls that the opportunity is out there and they don't need to go abroad to play wheelchair basketball."

As well as games being streamed over Youtube, the BBC will also be broadcasting fixtures and for many players, this will be the first time their performances will be on show to the general public.

High Performance Manager Will Ashby added, "I think the Women’s Premier League will have a big impact, and in the longer term it will not only increase the numbers that play the sport but also those that watch it as wheelchair basketball will become part of mainstream media."

The East London Phoenix start their season against Cardiff Met Archers on Friday 28 January with tickets on sale now.

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