A first for Namibia

The NPC is putting together a wheelchair basketball team for the inaugural 2020 African Para Games in Morocco in January next year and has roped in a British coach to assist.

19 August 2019 | Sports

LIMBA MUPTAMI



The Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) is not sitting back and allowing a lack of resources to pull it down, and has roped in the services of Britain's Ryan Raghoo to train a wheelchair basketball team at the Katutura Youth Complex basketball court.

Raghoo is a Paralympic athlete with cerebral palsy and is also a T37 long jump and track event specialist. He also founded a non-profit organisation called Enabled not Disabled, which raises awareness about disability-related issues worldwide.

Together with the NPC's Michael Hamukwaya, Raghoo held a seven-day wheelchair basketball training camp, in order to assemble a national wheelchair basketball team.

“The response has been great, as we got athletes from all over the country. In total we have 26 athletes - 18 males and eight females. It's a good number, but we need more female athletes in the long run.

“We really have big plans for wheelchair basketball, but we need a lot of support, because this is the only sport they can play as a team,” Raghoo said.

He said further that playing wheelchair basketball allows the athletes to socialise, as it breaks down barriers because each athlete comes from a different background.

“This will be history in the making. We are trying to set up a national team, because there is none at the moment.

“We got athletes from all over the country to come for the camp and the response has been positive. We also have coaches who came to volunteer their services to see this dream unfold. We don't have enough resources, but the team is quite optimistic,” Raghoo said.

One of the athletes, Ingo David, said the camp has been great and he hopes that they can make it to Morocco next year.

The players were divided into two groups. Group one consisted of the more developed players, whereas group two still need to develop their skills.

About 1 200 athletes are expected to attend the Para-sport competition and compete across Africa's seven disciplines, namely athletics, blind football, goal ball, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, taekwondo and wheelchair basketball. Most of the events will act as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which are set to be held between 25 August and 6 September next year.

Athlete classification evaluation, anti-doping educational courses and a Paralympian workshop will be held in the lead-up to and during the African Para Games.

The NPC is also looking to put together a three-on-three men's basketball for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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