A high Roller
YET another Coffs coast athlete has secured a ticket to London, with wheelchair basketballer Bill Latham earning selection in the Australian Rollers team for August's Paralympics.
Latham joins wheelchair rugby player Ben Newton, triathlete Emma Moffat, world champion cyclist Cadel Evans and Brett Parberry in the equestrian as the region's representatives in London.
After narrowly missing selection for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Latham, 22, has put together a stellar four-year campaign to earn his place on the team.
Currently plying his trade in the Spanish national league for Madrid-based team Fundosa, Latham has quickly built his international profile in the sport.
A member of Australia's 2010 world championship winning team, the Lower Bucca resident will be one of only two athletes in the Rollers team competing in their first Paralympics.
"It is a great honour to go to the Paralympics," Latham said.
"I'm really excited and can't wait for it to start.
"After being a part of Australia's World Cup win the next big goal was to go to the Paralympics," he said.
Australia is ranked number one in the world and will be out to retain its Paralympic title with back-to-back gold medals.
It is sure to be a tough assignment for the Rollers, who will face the United States, South Africa, Turkey, Spain and Italy in pool play.
"We're ready. The last four years we've been preparing ourselves for this moment and when you look at the work we've done - every player has had game time, gym time, on-court time - we're just ready to get in there and do battle," Australian Rollers head coach Ben Ettridge said.
"We've drawn the USA and they'll be a tough one, as will Italy and Turkey, who have proven their performance on the world stage recently.
"They could give us a good shake, while we believe Spain could cause a few upsets and could be quite dangerous."
The London Paralympic Games will take place from August 29- September 9, with the wheelchair basketball medal finals on September 8.