'Finally made it' - Ipswich basketball star lands pro deal in France

Harriet Welham led Ipswich to a huge win in their first league game, scoring 28 points and adding 12

Ipswich Basketball Club's Harriet Welham will be crossing the English Channel to play professionally in France - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich basketball star has jumped through hoops to land a professional deal for a team in France.

Ipswich Basketball Club's Harriet Welham has spent the last 11 years playing in the top women's league, National Basketball League Division One.

But the two times national player of the year said landing her first professional deal with third-tier team Besancon Basket Club "means everything".

Ms Welham, from Bury St Edmunds, said: "For me,  I feel like I have finally made it.

"I've done everything I needed to in Ipswich.

"For me, it seemed like the perfect time to head off and push myself a little bit more.

"It's definitely going to be a big step outside my comfort zone but I definitely needed to do it.

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"We've never had a player that has gone and played pro for the younger ones to look up to.

"The fact that this can be realistic for our under-16 girls that can be a motivation."

Basketball is extremely popular in France and is one of the top women's sports in the country. 

Ms Welham's new club is an ambitious side aiming for promotion. 

"Their view for the season is to get promoted straight away and get into league two," said Ms Welham.

"The fact they have recruited me to try and get into league two is quite cool.

"We will see how far we can keep climbing."

The move means Ms Welham will spend the next two years living in France. 

"I don't know any French, I'm relying on Google Translate," she said.

"I'm hoping that they speak a bit more English than I do French."

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