“I learned at an early age the dedication and discipline it takes to be a high-performance athlete"
Canada’s Melanie Hawtin is aiming to put the disappointment of Rio 2016 behind her, by securing back-to-back wheelchair basketball world titles this August in Hamburg, Germany.
The 29-year-old was part of the team that finished fifth at Rio 2016, just two years after claiming the world title on home territory with a thrilling victory over Germany. She now wants to repeat that success when the world’s 12 best women’s team go head-to-head between 16-25 August.
“We are always looking for a gold medal,” said Hatwin. “I am really grateful for the training opportunities I have had and it is an honour to be working with the best athletes and coaches on a daily basis.
“We would love to come home with a win. We will stay focused on our goals leading up to and throughout World Championships.”
The former T54 class wheelchair racer and Canadian national champion is known for her speed and endurance on the court. She hopes her experiences in individual sport can help her team enjoy further success.
“There is a very big difference between the two [sports]. I enjoy being around and working with people,” she said. “To be able to win or lose with a team has its advantages. We are all in this together and it is a really satisfying feeling when you can share these ups and downs with an amazing group of women.
“I learned at an early age the dedication and discipline it takes to be a high-performance athlete.
“What I enjoy about wheelchair basketball is the challenge of putting together all of our individual strengths and weaknesses to form a strong team.”
Hamburg 2018 will feature 12 women’s and 16 men’s teams.
Canada is no stranger to wheelchair basketball success. The women’s team have won five world titles and three Paralympic titles. The men’s team claimed gold in 2006, in addition to Paralympic titles in 2000, 2004 and 2012.
Hawtin expects to keep the tradition going.
“There is a long history of both of our programmes with outstanding performances,” she said. “That speaks to the hard work and dedication from each athlete and all staff involved in our programmes.”