Wheelchair basketball continues to grow

28th June 2018
RISING TO THE TOP…Diamond Wheelers have won Source:The Midweek Sun


By Isaac Pheko -

The Diamond Wheelers wheelchair basketball team emerged victorious after beating South East Sports Association for the Disabled(SESAD) 10-2 during a tournament held at the Young Africa Botswana centre in Gaborone this past weekend.

The tournament, which attracted spectators from the Gaborone West community, was sponsored by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund and IREX Reciprocal Exchange Awardees. Action on the court was preceded by seating seminar aimed at improving the lives of people living with disabilities. The tournament featured only two teams as the newly formed sport code continues to grow.

“Wheelchair basketball is a fairly new sport and it is not easy to play. The sport is played by all   people living with disabilities especially those who have physical disabilities. The game is classified according to the type of injuries. It's not only wheelchairs users; there are cerebral palsy and amputees, spinal cord injury,” said Diamond Wheelers player and chairman Edward Dhliwayo. 

“The different players can play in the same team but the point scoring system is   done according to the type of   disability. Wheelchair basketball includes five players in each team. Diamond Wheelers use the Young Africa Botswana Youth centre located at MmaMasire grounds as their home ground. Dhliwayo said the other wheelchair basketball teams did not compete on the day as they have not reached a level to compete   with the likes of Diamond Wheelers. The tournament was attended by the US Ambassador Earl Miller and the MVA CEO Michael Mooketsi.

Speaking earlier during the seminar, Mooketsi said research has shown that inactivity in people living with disabilities can lead to secondary complications and further disability. “Furthermore, prescription of wrong wheelchair and mobility device can lead to other disabilities and even death through pressure sores.
We do hope through learning about proper seating, positioning and eventually participating in this tournament will not only impact positively but prolong and prevent further disabilities.” Mooketsi said the aim of the tournament was to empower people living with disabilities and stakeholders with valuable life lessons and to encourage active participation in sporting activities.

Officiating during the same occasion, Ambassador Miller said inclusive facilities are one way in which Botswana is trying to build an environment welcoming to all. “Events like a wheelchair basketball tournament help get people living with disabilities out of the house where they can focus on their abilities rather than their physical limitations and help to engage all part of the community regardless of whether you can play wheelchair basketball or not,” he said. The ambassador emphasized how difficult it is to play wheelchair basketball. 

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