Getting the ball rolling

WHEELCHAIR basketball is certainly a challenge, and for many people, it requires a completely new set of skills and coordination.

Shooting for goal, for example, is much harder, as one cannot use legs or knees for leverage.

Instead of dribbling down the court, players get two pushes of the chair before having to bounce the ball or pass it — which is tricky when performed at speed.

In Sale, people of all abilities had the chance to try the sport out, delighting one veteran player who was able to take on his mates.

The pilot program, run by GippSport in partnership with Wellington Shire Council and Basketball Victoria, will hold another free session on Sunday, September 9, from 4.30pm.

GippSport program coordinator Brenton Dinsdale said if it was popular enough, and numbers have been higher than expected, a league could start up.

“It’s an opportunity for not only people with a disability to play, but also able-bodied participants to jump in a chair and try something different — something they wouldn’t have an opportunity to do — and also gain an understanding of modified sport and people with a disability,” he explained.

“We were estimating maybe six (players) when we started, but at the first we had about 13 participants, second 25, and the third about 25 that had a go.”

Providing the sport locally means some players wouldn’t have to travel hours to compete, he added.

“One player, Will (Firth), his mum takes him every Thursday night to Kilsyth to play in that competition because that’s the most local,” Dinsdale said.

“Having a program here in Sale is an opportunity to train for him, and also interact and socialise with his friends from school, it’s an even playing field.”

The session proved competitive, as people of all ages got in the mix.

Anyone interested is advised to check out the Facebook event for the next session, or phone Brenton Dinsdale on 0447 358 330.