Swindon College is celebrating the outstanding achievements of its Wheelchair Basketball Team as they prepare to head to the National Finals of the IZB (Inclusive Zone Basketball) Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Worcester next week, having recently won gold in the South West Regional competition.
Inclusive Zone Basketball is a 4 a-side game, developed to enable players who cannot participate in a full game of basketball to enjoy playing the game. The zones used enable players to be matched in their abilities within these zones.
Staff, students, parents and Governors gathered at a celebratory reception to mark the overwhelming success of the team, who remarkably only formed a few months ago.
The team of ten, made up of able-bodied and disabled Foundation Studies students defeated five other teams from across the South West to take gold, crediting their success to the help and encouragement of college staff and their Coach, Lewis Bird from Swindon Mind.
‘’An adapted sport, Inclusive Zone Basketball is perfect for our foundation studies students – many of whom require support with day-to-day independence skills and progression in to work due to a disability or learning difficulty’’ says Swindon College Lecturer Michelle Maslen.
“It’s been wonderful to see their enthusiasm and confidence in their own ability grow with each training session. For most of them this was the first time they had ever been part of a team or taken part in any sports competition, so it was a daunting but an exciting experience. I’m so so proud of everything they have achieved.’’
Lewis has also been impressed with just how well the students have taken to the sport.
“I am incredibly proud of the progress made by all of the students in such a short amount of time’’ he said. ‘’This tournament has not only given them experience of playing as a team, but also a feeling of self-worth, and memories that will stay with them forever. It’s also demonstrated the merit of reward for working hard at something, which hopefully they will be able to apply into college work and job hunting in the future.’’
The team are now back in training ahead of the National Finals next Wednesday (26th April) in Worcester, with staff and students at the College championing them all the way!
For more information about Swindon College visit www.swindon.ac.uk or telephone (01793) 491591.
Back row – Jac Davies, Adan Hardiman, Lewis Bird (coach) Anthony Powers, Selwin De Araujo, Countney Saunders. Middle row – Katy Lawrence, Alfie Hodgson, Michelle Maslen (Lecturer/Coach) Jack Street, Alyisia Cole. Front row – Elizabeth Hedges, Josh Hemmings, Lewis Hill (supporter)