By Tom Harle
The Commonwealth Games is literally a different ball game for wheelchair basketball star Charlotte Moore.
The Coventry native has made her name in the traditional five-player format, winning three European medals and representing Great Britain at the Paralympics.
But a true home Games in her West Midlands backyard is offering something different.
Moore will be one of the first wheelchair ballers to feature at the Commonwealth Games in the 3x3 format, with a single basket and a 12-second shot clock promising non-stop action.
Even the size and weight of the ball is different - a new challenge that Moore is relishing.
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“The format is so different,” said Moore, who is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
“It’s a lot faster and if it’s played right it can be very simple.
“It’s about getting used to the new style of play but it’s fun to do because it’s fast, dynamic and physical.
“I’ll be honest in the first couple of training camps, you just shot the second you had the ball! As time goes on you understand the rules a bit more and how to manage the shot clock.
“You have to be smart with how you play it and don’t doubt your decisions - just make a play.”
Moore’s only previous exposure to the shortened format was at ‘High Rollers’, a mixed invitational event in Essex.
As an established Great Britain player, Moore had to earn the right to represent Team England and come through an open national trial attended by dozens of aspiring players.
“Everyone was on a level playing field and being a GB player gave you no advantage,” she said. “You had to turn up and just bring your A-game to get selected.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Moore is looking for medal success.
Moore’s England have been drawn in Group B for the Games alongside Canada and Kenya.
It’s fair to say Moore and team-mates Amy Conroy, Joy Haizelden and Jade Atkin will be flying blind when it comes to their opposition.
“We know the Scottish girls but no-one has a clue who other countries are bringing,” she said.
“You’ve got to beat what’s in front of you and you can’t prepare for a certain team. We have to try to beat whoever turns up.”
Moore’s friends and family are preparing to invade the Birmingham city-centre venue for the sport that will take place at Smithfield market and promises an electric atmosphere.
“I’m so excited to have a Games so close to home,” she said. “Everyone can come and support and enjoy the atmosphere.
“It's a really busy summer for us and this is an amazing opportunity.”
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