Development & Alumni Relations Office 

QUEEN’S GRADUATE JAMES MACSORLEY HEADS TO TOKYO PARALYMPIC GAMES  Wheelchair Basketball athlete James MacSorley takes aim ahead of the Paralympic Games

19 July 2021

Law graduate and former recipient of two Queen’s Sport bursaries, James MacSorley, has secured a place at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and will compete on Thursday 26th August in the men’s Wheelchair Basketball team event.

James, who plays his club games in Spain for ADM Econy Gran Canaria, is heading to Japan as part of Team GB’s Paralympic squad. He was announced earlier this month as one of 24 men and women who will represent the UK in the Wheelchair Basketball competition when the Paralympic Games begin on 24th August.

From Belfast, James is a member of the 12-man squad that currently holds World and European championship titles, having won gold at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg. This was James’ second world title; he was part of the under-23 squad that took home first place at the World Championships in 2017. Now aged 26, he enters the Paralympic Games with a team rated number one in the world.

Reflecting on his Paralympic selection, James posted on LinkedIn:

“I am proud and honoured to announce that I have been selected for Team GB for the Tokyo Paralympic games. It has been a long few years, and it was by no means the most conventional path to my first Paralympics but I'm so glad to say that all the hard work and sacrifice have paid off and that I am one step closer to achieving a dream I have had since I was 6-years-old.

“I am more aware than ever that I am very fortunate to have had the opportunities that I have had, and for the people who I have had around me, believing in me and supporting me every step of the way. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen.”

During his time at University, James was the recipient of a Queen's Athletic Bursary (2013), which supports high-achieving athletes and helps them to maintain the balance between academic study and sporting development. He also received an Ulster Bank scholarship from Queen's Sport in the following year. James graduated with an LLB in Common and Civil Law with Hispanic Studies, in 2017.

Commenting on the announcement, Kevin O’Neill – Chief Executive of Disability Sport NI – wrote online:

"The team at Disability Sport NI is delighted to see James MacSorley announced for the Paralympics GB Men's Team. James has been involved in wheelchair basketball from a very young age, working incredibly hard to achieve two World Championship titles and now a place on the Paralympic squad.

“It is a well-deserved accomplishment and we look forward to following James on his Paralympic journey.”

James is one of five Queen’s graduates competing in Tokyo, the list of which also includes medical graduates Dr Philip Doyle (rowing) and Dr Paul Pollock (marathon), Olympic Trap competitor, Kirsty Hegarty (née Barr) and Women's Eight rower and BA French and Spanish alumna Rebecca Edwards who are heading to Japan for the COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this month and in August. 

The Team GB men’s Wheelchair Basketball team will face the USA, defending Paralympic champions, alongside Iran and Australia, commencing Thursday 26th August, in Tokyo. At the previous Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, Team GB reached the semi-final stage of the tournament for the first time in their history, having beaten China at quarter-final stage.

If you would like to support the next generation of athletes at Queen’s visit the Queen’s Foundation website or contact Paddy Gilmore, Queen’s Development and Engagement Manager, Queen’s Sport.

For general enquiries about this story, or to submit graduate news items, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast or telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Headline image by Prithpal Bhatia from Pixabay 


Back to Main News









Top of Page