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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Wheelchair basketball gala a win for inclusion

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Wheelchair Basketball. Photo Supplied by SCS Sport.

Sixteen teams, across the Archdiocese of Sydney recently competed in the Sydney Catholic Schools Wheelchair Basketball Gala Day.

This event, full of competitive matches and fierce competition was a memorable day for everyone involved.

With gold, silver, bronze, and winning shields up for grabs, students made the most of the day and threw themselves into the essence of teamwork and competition.

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On Tuesday the 28th May, nine junior teams (years 7-9) and seven senior teams (years 10-12) converged at Bankstown basketball stadium, which saw a record number of competitors, with numbers doubling from last year.

“The big smiles, great attitudes, and overall fun made this day a success for everyone involved,” said Anna Turnbull, Sydney Catholic Schools sport specialist and advocate for inclusive sports.

The operations of the day had to be altered due to the increase in numbers.

Limited resources and available wheelchairs for the competition meant adjustments had to be made in the form of creating four A-Side matches with subs, so that the competition could operate across four courts in a game on/game off situation.

The backbone of successful sporting competitions, the referees, shone through at the gala day.

Wheelchair basketball. Photo Supplied by SCS Sport.

Team member of the winning senior competition, Noah Sportelli, a student at De La Salle, Revesby, showed great camaraderie and passion for the sport by refereeing for the games he wasn’t playing in.

All Saints Catholic College Liverpool staff member Matt Wells, an international referee in wheelchair basketball, helped coordinate and upskill the student referees at the event.

The gala day also acted as a learning opportunity for many of the students who have never participated in a wheelchair sport.

“Reverse inclusion” is a model of sports participation that teaches able-bodied students how to partake in modified ability sports, to understand the challenges and differences people with disabilities face in sports.

“Our students’ development from their first game to their last, has been truly remarkable. Our reverse inclusion model has provided a unique opportunity for students to understand the differences and challenges between mainstream basketball and wheelchair basketball,” Turnbull said.

All Saints College Liverpool won the junior competition. The senior competition was won by De La Salle College Revesby.

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