Mareike Miller feels like a mentor to young players in team Germany
What are your thoughts in the lead up to the European Championships?
“We are focused on our preparations as a team. Our team has changed quite a bit from last year and we are a much younger, inexperienced group. I have personally worked on my comeback from a 5-month injury break. So, our thoughts are simply wanting to use this opportunity to develop and prepare for a great challenge whilst working on securing our Tokyo qualification. European women’s teams have become much stronger and competitive, so we look forward to another challenge and fierce games, showing where we stand this summer.”
You mention that your squad is different from last year, tell us a little bit of information about the newer players…
“Our squad now includes a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old player. Both have great talent and we are excited to have them. Additionally, we have added two athletes who have only been playing wheelchair basketball for a short period of time. Four new athletes looking forward to their first women’s national team appearance.”
With this new young squad do you now feel like a mentor?
“Yes, as only one of the two most experienced athletes on the squad now, I mentor and lead the new players. Annabel Breuer who started with me in 2009 and Laura Fürst who captains the team with me also guide the team on and off the court.”
What’s your opinion on IWBF’s decision to split the men’s and women’s European Championships into two different competitions?
“I think it’s very unfortunate the tournaments are separated. A lot of spectators now have to choose which event to come to, if they don’t have enough time off for two full week tournaments. It makes for an unnecessary separation and the tournaments themselves don’t have as many games to be seen when attending. For us specifically the only advantage I see in splitting the event is the reduced logistics making it easier for organisers and more likely for everything to go smoothly.”
What have your experiences been like at previous friendly tournaments in the Netherlands?
“Friendly tournaments are tough to compare to an actual championship. Most of the small weekend tournaments we attended, we drove to with our own cars and didn’t have transport provided. Often, the distance between gym and accommodation were walkable, which is very helpful during a competition as well.”
What are your goals for Tokyo?
“It’s very early to set exact goals. We prefer to focus on the next upcoming tournament as in the European Championships. So, we currently aim to qualify for Tokyo with the best possible result in Rotterdam. Nonetheless, having had a Bronze medal finish at last year’s World Championships we will always strive for winning another medal.”
Basketball Experience NL would like to thank Mareike Miller for the interview.
Picture credits: Pia Krah / Push-Sport E.V.