Fiona Tillman

Fiona Tillman

Key Achievements

  • 2015BWAD Open Bench Press Championships, 67kg Category , First Place

  • 2015National Championships, Women's National League finals and Premier Division National League Finals, Double Bronze Medallist

  • 1915EuroCup , Euro League 3 in Turkey, Bronze medalists Extremely humbled and privileged to be the only women this year to play with the mens Premier Team whilst playing out in Europe in the Euro Cup

  • 2014World Championships, Women's Wheelchair Basketball, Fifth in the World highest ever attained ranking


How did you first get involved in your sport?

The 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships marked my first major debut for Great Britain, just over three and half years since I first tried the sport. I was a former running basketballer and had already amassed a great deal of on court success having represented the South East and Central England Women’s Basketball Team (1996) and secured the University of Brighton a highly coveted spot in three National Finals of the British Universities Sports Association Basketball League (1994, 1996, 1997). Some years on after a life changing road traffic accident and numerous surgeries, in 2011, thanks to the support and encouragement of my Spinal Unit, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), the Back Up Trust, and a persistent friend, I returned to court and found myself hooked on wheelchair basketball. Having discovered a “small piece of heaven” in being able to compete in a sporting context once again, my game quickly progressed from strength to strength under the guidance of the GLL & Aspire London Titans Head Coach and five-time Paralympian Ann Wild OBE, leading to an invitation to join the GB Squad.

What does a typical week look like for you?

Monday: Stretching and prehabilitation; then training at the GB High Performance Centre in Stoke Mandeville Tuesday: Usually back down at the University of Brighton with an afternoon S&C session (Strength based), plus any additional court time for shooting practice/chair skills if available...followed by recovery, prehabilitation and stretching. Wednesday: Training with the GLL and London Aspire Titans at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park or doing track work/fartlek/hill/sprint work in chair & prehabilitation. Thursday: Physiotherapy or sports massage session (up to 2 hours) followed by an afternoon S&C session (Power based) at the University of Brighton, plus any additional court time for shooting practice if available. Prehabilitation and recovery in the evening. Friday: Day of rest, nutrition, prehabilitation and stretching in preparation for the weekend and fixtures... and sometimes a chair maintenance session too. Saturday: Either National League Fixtures or four hours of court based training with my National League Club GLL London and Aspire Titans at Stanmore. Sunday: National League Fixtures/prehabilitation/pushing or rest day dependent on the previous six days!

What motivates you to continue in your sport?

The internal drive to be the very best that I can possibly be; not only for myself but for my team mates too. To push my boundaries, to continue to improve in the pursuit of excellence. To refuse to accept defeat or failure, to know that I did absolutely everything within my capability to be the best I could possibly be not only for myself but for my team mates as well. To know that tomorrow always provides you with the chance to be better than today, that learning is life long and that the journey only stops if you allow it to.

What do you enjoy the most about being a sportsperson?

Being an integral part of a team and witnessing first hand my fellow team mates develop, blossom, flourish, improve and succeed in their quest to be the very best that 'we' can be. Remembering that challenge and failure are integral parts of learning and becoming victorious.... it is from our mistakes that we learn our lessons and continue to progress towards that elite level. That as a sportsperson there is always another level to attain, another target to strive towards; to be better than you were yesterday; be that faster, stronger, fitter, more skillful or more agile....

Who is your sporting hero and why?

Martina Navratilova. As a young girl, it felt like she challenged the perception of what it was to be an athlete and a woman. For me, as a young kid, she helped put women's sport on the world stage for a positive reason. She placed at importance not only on equality but also on training, discipline, on S&C and allowed young women to realise that to be competitive, physical and strong was something that was positive and deserved proactive recognition. I personally believe that she helped to pave the way for so many of today’s female athletes in so many sports.

Who is your biggest influence in your life and why?

My close friend, coach and exceptional athlete, the five time Paralympian Ann Wild. Without Ann's detailed and exquisite knowledge, her phenomenal patience, incredible coaching input, complete support, inspirational motivation, continual encouragement and guidance I would never had the opportunity to represent my country and wear the Great Britain vest. The work that Ann undertakes within the para sporting community and especially the wheelchair basketball community is truly phenomenal. She devotes enormous amounts of her own personal time, resources, thought, care, emotion and passion to the advancement of all aspects of this sport, not only at a grass roots and club level but also throughout and within the GB HPC and development set up. A lot has been spoken about with direct reference to the word legacy, its definition and it’s pertinence since the Olympics and Paralympics came to grace London in 2012. Ann embodies the true notion and spirit of what that specific word and concept means in full. She is herself, a five time Paralympian with a deep personal knowledge and direct comprehension and understanding of the sacrifice, hard work, commitment, dedication and utter devotion that accompanies what she personally describes as the ‘enormous privilege and immense honour of representing her country’ at the very highest level possible. Ann prides herself upon her strong, diligent and often tireless work ethic, her fiercely competitive nature and her heart felt belief that everyone should be provided with an opportunity to access, participate and be involved in sport, no matter what obstacle is placed in front of them… be it physical, emotional, material or social. Her dedication and devotion to furthering others is total. For me personally, within a purely sporting context I feel inordinately fortunate and magnificently blessed to have become one of the athletes with whom Ann works. She gives so much of herself to others, often with disregard for herself and all with the hope of furthering and allowing those that she works with to fulfil their true potential.

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