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Ipswich basketball duo hope to inspire after receiving Great Britain under-20 squad call-ups

PUBLISHED: 11:10 08 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:11 08 June 2017

Harriet Welham

Harriet Welham

RAINYWOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

Ipswich basketball duo Josh Apple and Harriet Welham hope they can inspire others, after they were called up for Great Britain’s respective under-20s squads.

Josh Apple Josh Apple

Apple (19), only started playing the sport two years ago, having switched from rugby union, while Welham (20) has never been part of the international system before.

Standing at 6ft 6ins, Islington-born Apple, who studied at Ipswich-based St Joseph’s College and latterly, Copleston Academy, is in the 21-man squad for a training camp, ahead of the Division B FIBA U20 Men’s European Championship in Romania, later this summer.

As for Bury St Edmunds-based Welham, the former County Upper School pupil will meet her international team-mates for a training camp in Manchester later this month, before head coach Chema Buceta selects a final 12 for the European Championships in Eilat, Israel from 8-16 July.

Welham, who will be part of the reformed Ipswich women’s basketball team next season, having top-scored for Essex Blades last term, said: “I was not expecting the call-up as I have never been part of the international set-up, so real credit must go to the Copleston Academy and the coaches at Ipswich.

“It was a massive surprise but I think the extra training, the fact that I top-scored for Essex last season, and having people like Nick Drane pushing me, really helped.

“I think I stand quite a good chance of making the cut and this is my chance to prove myself.

“I have never been noticed before, this shows what hard work can do, and I can go there and just play my own game.”

The selection of Apple, meanwhile, is the latest chapter in an exciting journey for the youngster – a move to play basketball in the USA on the horizon.

He explained: “I always only started playing basketball two-and-a-half years ago back in London when I watched my friends.

“My progress has been phenomenal and I’d like to say a big thank-you to all the coaches at Ipswich Basketball and Copleston Academy.

“I never expected this but I always knew that if I kept going up against the best players and try my best, it would help me improve.

“The chance to meet up with GB will be a great experience and I hope my story can inspire others.

“If I can do it, anyone can.”

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