Milton twins make national wheelchair basketball team preparing for world qualifier
© Submitted Photo
Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie congratulates brothers Jeremy, left, and Joel Watts on recently being named to the Canadian men’s under-23 wheelchair basketball team.
At least twins Jeremy and Joel Watts might be saying that after being named to the Canadian men's under-23 national wheelchair basketball team set to compete at a qualifying tournament from March 11 to 17 in Mexico City. Do well there and the Watts' and crew head to the men's under-23 world championship in September in Turkey.
But first things first for the Milton natives.
The Guardian caught up with the 18-year-olds in a recent e-mail interview for a Q&A about the making the national team, going south of the border and what they think of Canada's chances to qualify.
The brothers played for the P.E.I. Mustangs at the 2012 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League open final in last April and were members of Team P.E.I. at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
Both have been on ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I.’s wheelchair basketball team since they were 10.
The Guardian: What are your thoughts about making the squad? Did either of you feel you had a realistic chance to make the team?
Jeremy Watts: We are both extremely excited about making the squad. At times it is still hard to believe, but it is a great feeling to know that all our hard work has paid off. It is an unbelievable feeling to know that we have the opportunity to represent both P.E.I. and Canada on the national stage. We both felt that we had a realistic chance of making the team, but we knew that we were up against stiff competition and it would take endless work and daily training to reach our goal.
The Guardian: What do you think you did right to make the squad?
Jeremy: Our daily training and the fact that we had support and guidance from others who have coached and competed on the national teams really helped us out.
We also attended many training camps where we picked up tips and became better basketball players from some of the best coaches and trainers not only from Canada but around the world. Recently, we started weight training with a personal trainer from Naturally Fit which we believe gave us the advantage of being stronger than we were.
The Guardian: Where are you living and training? When do you leave for Mexico? Where does Canada have to finish to reach the world championship?
Jeremy: We live on the Loyalist Road in Milton with our mom Sandra Weeks and our stepfather Erroll Burgoyne. We train daily at the APM Centre in Cornwall and we do weight training with Jason Mosher at Naturally Fit. We go to Ontario for several days in March before departing with the entire team for Mexico on March 9. Canada has to finish as one of the top two teams in order to qualify for the world championship.
The Guardian: Have either of you seen or played in a world-level competition before?
Jeremy: We have both experienced competition against teams and players from around the world, but never on such a high-profile stage.
The Guardian: How do you think Canada stacks up against the rest of the competition in Mexico?
Jeremy: We know that the competition will be strong when we land in Mexico, but we have confidence both in ourselves and in our teammates.
With the high calibre of coaches that Canada has taking us to Mexico we have confidence that we will be strong and ready to face any challenges we may encounter to compete at the worlds.