Representing Britain...and Bermuda

  • Bermudian Jenaya Wade-Fray who will represent Great Britain at the Olympics in basketball.

    Bermudian Jenaya Wade-Fray who will represent Great Britain at the Olympics in basketball.

Jenaya Wade-Fray might be wearing the colours of Team GB but she will be playing with Bermuda in her heart at London 2012, writes Stephen Wright.

The St David's Islander has been a key member of Great Britain's women's basketball team for the past three years and will be looking to make a name for herself at the biggest sporting spectacle over the next fortnight.

But the 23-year-old will certainly have her work cut out when she takes to the court tonight against a formidable Australian side who made short work of Great Britain in a recent friendly match, winning 87-63.

Great Britain's antipodean head coach Tom Maher admits Australia are massive favourites but has warned the gold medal hopefuls against underestimating his rapidly improving side.

"It's a great first up. We're at hugely long odds to beat Australia or USA. To play them first, it's like you're playing without any pressure at all," said Maher, whose players have been on media lockdown since the beginning of the week.

"You get your Olympic feet wet so to speak. And I think it'll be a great environment. It'll be up and down and a lot of fun. We'll be surprisingly good if people aren't ready for us."

The British men's and women's teams were admitted to the Olympics as hosts following a vote by the International Basketball Federation last year.

They were only given permission after satisfying the world governing body that they were competitive at international level and had a post-Olympic legacy plan for the game in the UK.

Five years ago the women's side did not even have a world ranking but have shown signs of extraordinary improvement, with Maher confident they can become a "respectable sporting team" and push for qualification from the pool stages.

"When we started, that was the whole goal. You don't inspire people through lethargy or unprofessional behaviour so we need to have a product," said Maher.

"I think Britain said 'look, basketball is a major sport, we're not that much into it and it is time to get into it'. I think they made a commitment to it, so my first thought was that we need to get to a stage where the other basketball nations say 'here's another one we have to beat', rather than just 'they're nothing.'

"Respect I guess. If you had to say one thing before we started it was about the training, what the public want to see and being a respectable sporting team."

This summer Maher's side have played a marathon 16 Tests and only twice, against Olympic champions USA and Australia, has they been well beaten.

They have been placed in a difficult group, though, which also includes medal contenders France as well as Canada, Russia and Brazil.

"I was talking to (retired France international) Audrey Sauret a couple of weeks ago and I think she put it that this team has been together, it's got plenty of age and experience to do something special, and I think the rest of the world see France as a potential medal team," said Maher, who guided Australia to the silver medal in 2000.

"This generation of players, whether it's a medal or not, need to show some sort of excitement about the Olympic Games or maybe their time might run out."

Team GB women's basketball schedule

Team GB v Australia, tonight

Team GB v Canada, Monday, July 30

Team GB v Russia, Wednesday, August 1

Team GB v France, Friday, August 3

Team GB v Brazil, Sunday August 5

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Published Jul 28, 2012 at 7:25 am (Updated Jul 28, 2012 at 7:24 am)

Representing Britain...and Bermuda

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