Over 10 days in June, the men’s British Wheelchair Basketball team has been training here at Club La Santa, in order to prepare for the Paralympic Games in Rio this summer.
Coach Haj Bhania tells us:
“We decided to come here after the women’s team was here in February. They recommended it to us, and told us how fantastic this place is.”
The coach says and outlines the differences between running basketball and wheelchair basketball:
“The game is the same as the running game. The height of the hoop is the same, everything is the same as the running game, except for the more technical part of the chair, and that’s where the difficulty lies. In running basketball, movement is easier; you can move sideways and jump, and we’re not able to do that. But this game is more tactical, it is about how you move with the chairs.”
Captain of the team, Terry Bywater says: “it is a fantastic sport to watch, especially on the highest level. It is one of the greatest sports in the world. The intensity… talent… for me it’s just the number one sport. It is a lot more difficult, because you use your arms as legs and you’ve got to dribble the ball, and that’s very technical. But it’s like riding a bike. The minute you have the technique everything starts to come naturally.”
6 time Paralympic Games participant, Simon Munn, is looking to compete in his 7th Games, and adds: “The first time I saw wheelchair basketball I fell in love with it straight away. I didn’t see the wheelchair, I saw 5 against 5 knocking the hell out of each other, and I loved that. I love the contact sport, even though it’s not supposed to be a contact sport.”