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Wheelchair basketball with 'sporting wheelies'

by Gia Vaiaso, Sports Programs Officer
Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association

Wheelchair basketball is a spectacular team sport modelled on the able-bodied game of basketball, first developed to assist the rehabilitation of World War II veterans.

Wheelchair basketball competition

In Australia it has become a sport played by anyone, including able-bodied athletes. The adaptation to the rules was to reflect the presence of the wheelchair, and to standardise the different levels of disabilities players have.

Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of the international basketball federation, FIBA basketball. It is played on standard basketball courts with normal height rings and backboards. The game is played by two (2) teams of five (5) players each. The aim of each team is to score in the opponent's basket and to prevent the other team from scoring.

Wheelchair basketball athlete

Rules that have been modified are to give consideration for the wheelchair. For example, "travelling" in wheelchair basketball occurs when the athlete touches his wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. The individual must pass, bounce or shoot the ball before he or she can touch their wheels again.

The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is responsible for setting the rules governing Wheelchair Basketball Competitions. Some areas they have recognised that FIBA rulings do not cater for the wheelchair are in setting dimensional standards of the wheelchair and classification.

All teams competing above social level use a classification system to evaluate the functional abilities of players on a point scale of 1 to 4.5. In places where teams are integrated, able-bodied athletes would be classified as a 5, and an individual with the highest degree of disability (such as full paraplegia below the chest) would have the classification of 1.0. Players are classified on their functional capacity to complete the skills necessary to play - pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching.

Players are observed in their competition wheelchairs, in a training situation before a tournament commences. From this initial observation a player is assigned a class with which they will begin the tournament. The player is then observed in an actual competition game, at which time their classification will be confirmed or modified if the classification panel feels it is necessary.

At national and international level competitions there is a restriction placed on the number of points allowable on the court at one time. The maximum allowable points value on the floor at any time for each team is 14 and only those who have a disability are entitled to play at this level.

Wheelchair basketball has great success at the Paralympic Games and indeed is the fastest growing sport for athletes with a disability. Today, wheelchair basketball is played in more than 80 countries and most countries have club competitions for men, women and youth. Recreation wheelchair basketball is growing rapidly.

About Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association

Young wheelchair basketball player

Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association is the peak body for the promotion of sport, recreation and fitness opportunities for people with a physical disability or vision impairment throughout Queensland. Wheelchair Basketball is perhaps the most developed of all of the association's programs. The programs cater for members who want to have fun, socialise, learn new skills, or to enhance basketball skills. There are opportunities for all junior players, senior athletes, newcomers and social players! Coaching is provided to new and developing players as well as pathways to Regional, State and National Competitions.

Sporting Wheelies has programs organised in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Cairns, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Mackay and Townsville. If you would like more information please visit the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association website or contact Gia Vaiaso, Sports Programs Officer, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association on (07) 3253 3333

A new venture coming to the Gold and Tweed Coast regions!

Gold Coast Blaze, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association, Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Inc are in support of a new wheelchair basketball social program called "ROLLERBLAZE".

The goal is to have a regular, mixed social league (16 years and over). Rollerblaze are looking for players as well as people who are interested in learning to referee, coach, be a team manager or supporter.

To register your interest in being a part of ROLLERBLAZE and to be in a draw for Gold Coast Blaze prizes, please email: rollerblaze@bigpond.com or phone 55 313312 (business hours) or 55 930096 (after hours).

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