4 Aug 2008

While the final countdown is on to the Beijing Games, Great britain’s women basketball are looking ahead to London 2012 and are honing their skills at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff.

The facility has been home to many a sporting legend and it is now the fortress of the GB team. The Institute will host all four home games, starting with Lithuania on 20 August.

Last summer, the team was undefeated which consequently saw them promoted into EuroBasket Division A, after two successful playoff games against the Netherlands.

While the women have been locked into a heavy schedule of training, they were able to turn their attentions away from the court recently. A makeover squad from The Times descended on the Welsh Institute of Sport with a kit as equally impressive as a sports science laboratory.

As The Times explains, "For women, the sport's profile barely raises a blip on the Olympic horizon, with only a few clubs around the country and virtually no chance for women to play as professionals, unless they are prepared to travel abroad.

"Which is why these five women had a job to do in drawing attention to their sport if they are to deepen the pool of talent needed to win Olympic gold - even if it meant submitting to the hairdresser for hours.

For now, though, miniskirts and lipstick are strictly off the agenda as the team limber up for a series of demanding fixtures. They face Lithuania in their opening match in Cardiff before they go up against Israel, the Ukraine and then Germany.

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