Alex gets selected for GB deaf basketball team

ALEX Milner is thrilled to have been selected for the Great Britain basketball team for the World Deaf Championships later this year.

Milner, 19, from Worthing, played for GB in the under-21 World Deaf Championships last year and was part of the under-21 team in the European Championships the year before.

To take part in the World Championships in Palermo, Italy, from September 16-24, Milner needs to raise £1,500 by August 20 as there is no funding for the team.

His father, Nigel, said: “There’s no funding in deaf sport and the players have to raise the money themselves by August 20, so it’s a real struggle.

“Alex loves his sport and it would be gratefully received if anyone is interested in sponsoring him.”

Ramas Rentelis, the DBUK president, said: “Not having sufficient funds for the Deaf Basketball team members to participate at the World Championshps would lead to the withdrawal of the Great Britain team from the championship. Moreover, the team morale would be highly compromised and, especially for Alex, who has been, for the past four years, building his hopes to reach such a position.”

Alex, also a keen swimmer and table tennis player, started playing basketball four years ago when he joined Mary Hare Sixth Form College for the deaf.

He said: “When I started Mary Hare at 16, I picked up a ball and played and I haven’t looked back since. Sport really helps when you’re at a new school.

“I then went to play in London for the London Lions deaf basketball team, then got involved with the GB team.

“I also play basketball for Bedford University and I now go to London for three days a week for training which is hard, as I have to sleep on team-mates’ floors.”

On the World Championships, Alex said: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity for me to improve my basketball and get experience playing against the best in the world.

“It means a lot representing my country and there is nothing bigger than that in sport. It would make me very proud and we can be good role models for deaf people and children.”

On his influences, Alex said: “Right now, my influence would be Dirk Nowitzki because he has just won the NBA title. It took 13 years for him to do it, which shows that it takes hard work, determination and patience to win a title.

“My coaches also help to motivate me.”

And, on his goals for the future, he said: “The ultimate would be for me to be the MVP (most valuable player) at the Deaflympics, representing GB.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring Alex, can email him at alexjmilner@hotmail.com or visit www.dbuk.org