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Doncaster basketball player leaps to sporting success

01 Feb 2017

Doncaster basketball player leaps to sporting success

A GB basketball player from Spotborough who has reached the dizzy heights of her sport is getting a helping hand from her hometown.

Helen Naylor (29), who plays for the current Women's British Basketball League (WBBL) Trophy holders the Sheffield Hatters and the GB senior women’s squad, has been selected to be part of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust’s (DCLT) Talented Athlete Support Scheme (TASS) for the second year in a row.

The prestigious scheme gives Helen free access to DCLT’s top-class facilities across the town.

Helen said: “The support of DCLT has been absolutely great and very much appreciated. It has been really helpful particularly during the last few months as I actually had knee surgery in June so I have been in rehab and getting physiotherapy and hope to be back on court over the next few weeks.

“Being part of the TASS scheme has meant I have been able to get into the gym every day as part of my rehab as well as doing my strength training. I regularly access Adwick Leisure Centre and the facilities at the Dome which are fantastic and the personal trainers are always there to offer support and guidance too which is really helpful.”

Despite her sporting success, Helen started full time work a year and a half ago and has a career as a social worker with adults with learning disabilities at Doncaster Council.

Added Helen: “I work alongside my basketball career which can be difficult to juggle but I have always loved the sport. I got into basketball through my parents who played for Doncaster, and my older sister who is involved in the sport too. I love the game because it's so exciting, fast paced and also really highly skilled.

“I’ve been lucky because it has taken me all over the world to places I would never have been to otherwise. I started with the Hatters at age 18, and have played for the senior division one women's team since then as well enjoying two professional stints in Australia. I have also played for all the England youth teams and then onto GB U20 and GB Senior women's playing in various European championships at the same time as winning numerous championships and trophies with Hatters.

“Last season was incredible for the Hatters as we won the trophy final in front of 10,000 fans at Birmingham arena. That was topped off by a really strong season for me personally as I led the whole league in scoring and was third in assists. I was also the most valuable player in the trophy final win, player of the month for the league in January and I made it onto the all British five of the season and the all-star 5 of the year from the WBBL league. I am hoping to be firing on all cylinders again soon and get back on the court to win more silverware!”

Jon Whiteley, head of community development at DCLT, said: “Helen is a credit to her sport and to Doncaster. We are in awe of the success she has achieved in her basketball career and delighted she continues on our TASS scheme so we can do our bit to support her. We wish Helen all the best as she recovers from injury and for the new season ahead.”

The TASS scheme was introduced by DCLT in 2012 in a bid to support local athletes who represent Great Britain at national or international level. For more information, visit: www.dclt.co.uk.

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