With a year to go to Tokyo 2020, Great Britain and England point guard Georgia Jones reflects on GB’s success at Women’s EuroBasket 2019 – and looks forward to achieving even more after the team secured entry to the Olympic qualifying tournament.
One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.I am so proud of what Great Britain accomplished at Women’s EuroBasket a few weeks ago. The team secured our place in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament by finishing fourth in Europe – the best any of our national teams has ever done. It feels like a moment for us to celebrate. And it is.
But looking at the bigger picture of women’s basketball at the elite level in the UK, it is simply a step on the road. I’m so excited to continue the journey we are on and to see how far this team can go. Our united group of players and staff has achieved a great thing after putting in years of hard work, lately with limited resources.
It follows England’s silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – another major milestone I was proud and privileged to be part of. That success and our positive performance at Women’s EuroBasket showed what we are capable of. But it also threw up some issues that must be addressed if we are to progress further.
Now is the moment for us to raise them – as we bid to build on them and achieve more. Our unity, drive and hard work as players and coaches is vital, but we also need greater national media spotlight on the game and increased funding to plan for the future and operate professionally.
Myself and my GB team-mate Hannah Shaw and assistant coach Vanessa Ellis recently appeared on BBC TV’s Sportsday programme to raise these issues. And, with a year to go until an Olympic Games at which we will hopefully be present, we have to do more than enjoy what we have done so far.
We have to use the opportunity to shout loud about our brilliant sport – one that is played and enjoyed by so many people in this country – push for greater recognition in our national media and lobby for the funding that could push the sport forward. All that and win some more basketball games!
Georgia Jones plays for Manchester Mystics in the WBBL, England and Great Britain and works as a marketing executive at Basketball England. All Girls is a new Basketball England campaign to engage more women and girls into the sport as fans, players, coaches, officials, volunteers and ambassadors. It will launch in the coming weeks.