Whole new ball game for Cole

Like many athletes who have just competed at major events, Paralympic champion Ellie Cole has gone through a period of considering whether she would continue in her sport.

Cole was one of the stars in the pool for Australia at the 2012 London Paralympics where she won four gold and two bronze medals. However, hampered by shoulder soreness, Cole, who had her right leg amputated when she was four because of a cancer known as sarcoma, has for much of the time since London been unsure whether she would remain in the pool.

Instead of following a common route of taking an extended break, the 21-year-old has instead ventured into wheelchair basketball and having shown some promise will be playing for the Dandenong Rangers in the national league this year.

Cole, who is swimming at the national titles in Adelaide with the aim of competing at this year's world titles in Montreal, still has her eyes set firmly in the pool for the Rio Paralympics in 2016, which would be her third Games, but is using basketball to keep her fresh and does want to move across to the sport once her swimming career is finished.

She went to an introductory basketball session a few months ago and ''loved it''.

''I loved working in a team because swimming isn't considered a team sport,'' Cole said. ''I definitely wanted a new challenge because when you've been competing for a decade the increments of improvements are quite small. However, in wheelchair basketball I knew that I could make big improvements.

''I've been chosen for the women's national league team, which is great, so I'm actually getting somewhere, which is a surprise. But my heart is definitely in swimming and I think it always will be.''

Cole, who has a prosthetic leg, said she had become used to using a wheelchair but believed that her shooting and overall game awareness would take a while to develop.

This story Whole new ball game for Cole first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.