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WHEEL CHAIR BASKETBALL TEAM BRACES FOR PARALYMPICS

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EVERY Saturday Richwood Paraplegic Sports Club is a hive of activity as the screeching of wheel chairs can be heard as the Harare Province ‘s wheel chair basketball team go through their paces in preparation for the national Paralympics games to be played this April in Chinhoyi.

The players show a lot of passion and enthusiasm whilst the deftness in their touch seems to echo that “disability does not mean inability, ” upon taking a breather Zimbabwe Sport 24-7 got a chance to chat with national team guard John Mugura who eloquently highlighted the state of wheel chair basketball in Zimbabwe.

“On Saturday mornings selected players from all the four clubs in Harare get together for provincial training in preparation for the Paralympics Games which will be in Chinhoyi this year,” Mugura said.

He also highlighted that these games will also act as a platform for the national team selectors to come up with an Open and Under 23 national team as South Africa will also be touring the country in April.

“South Africa qualified for the World Cup so before they leave for the big event they will be touring Zimbabwe to play with our national Open and Under 23 teams, so these teams have to be selected in Chinhoyi,” said an excited Mugura.

Mugura also fingered the lack of league action in Zimbabwe as the major setback despite the country having eight competitive clubs and facilities that are up to scratch.

“Due to lack of sponsorship we do not have a national league, three tournaments on our calendar; the Paralympics, Barclays Tournament and the Danhiko Paralympics’ games sponsored by the first lady, Mai Grace Mugabe.

“This is however not enough because the countries we compete with have competitive leagues which makes it difficult for us to beat them, for example South Africa has three leagues, the A league which has 12 teams is sponsored by Vodacom; Division One has 30 teams and is sponsored by MTN whilst their Division two is the social league.

He also noted that their competition always has state of the art game chairs which are more efficient than the ones they are using.

“Every year if a new chair comes out SASSOL (South Africa’s national team sponsor) goes to Japan to buy that chair, the efficiency of these chairs works to their advantage on the court as they are able to get about without any trouble,” Mugura said.

Currently Zimbabwe has eight wheel chair basketball teams: four teams from Harare; Richwood, Wolves, Ruwa and Danhiko; three from Bulawayo; BCD, Qhubuka and Jairos Jiri Bulawayo and a team from Victoria Falls.

By Prisiel Samu

 


 

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