Balls, baskets and wheels

The first local wheelchair basketball tournament will take place in Windhoek this weekend.

11 August 2017 | Sports

The Katutura Youth Centre will host a wheelchair basketball tournament, the first of its kind to be held in Windhoek, on Saturday. The event will provide an opportunity for the athletes to be classified by a qualified classifier.

Three clubs were invited to register teams for the one-day tournament: Wheel-Ability Sports Club from Windhoek, Oshana Heroes Sports Club and the Ohangwena Wheelchair Basketball team.

This tournament will serve as a national championship as it is organised by the Namibian Paralympics Committee. It will provide an opportunity for disability athletes to showcase their talents while raising awareness of the sport in Namibia.

Even though it is largely a male-dominated sport there are a few women who play wheelchair basketball in Namibia and it is one of the goals of the NPC to encourage more women to take up this sport.

The sport is growing slowly but surely, as most of the players no longer use their ordinary wheelchairs to compete but have acquired multi-sport chairs since receiving a sponsorship in 2015.

However, the public needs to be made more aware of the challenges these athletes face every day just to do what they enjoy.

Paralympic athletes need to be classified in order to compete internationally. A qualified classifier from South Africa has been invited to this weekend's event to do just that.

A classifier is an official who has the necessary knowledge to provide sport-specific classification assessments which determine the class in which an athlete competes.

Athletes are classified according to the following criteria: eligibility of impairment, minimum disability criteria, and sport class. Classification is important to prevent one-sided contests and to provide a platform where athletes who share a similar disability can compete against each other.

The public is invited to share this experience with the athletes. Entrance is free of charge.

SPORT REPORTER

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