Paralympian teaches wheelchair basketball

Ready to roll Wheelchair basketballers Krystal Rothery and Brett Henman will take on Sutherland on July 6. Picture: Geoff Jones

Ready to roll Wheelchair basketballers Krystal Rothery and Brett Henman will take on Sutherland on July 6. Picture: Geoff Jones

PARALYMPIC gold medallist Gerry Hewson has urged anyone keen to get down to Kevin Betts Stadium in Mt Druitt and play wheelchair basketball.

Hewson is coaching players of all ages and abilities in a programme for those with or without a disability to compete.

Friends and family learn to play with each other where they normally wouldn't be able to.

Novice wheelchair athletes join more experienced players to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.

"Most of the time the siblings can't play a sport together, so this makes a big difference to their lives," Hewson said.

"They've all done fantastic and have learnt all the basic skills which is what we're trying to teach them right now.

"I'd tell anyone to come down and have a crack because you don't know what you're missing out on.

"Once you get into it it's relatively easy to play."

Of the 18 players signed up, the more serious ones are playing competitive matches and the team, named Blacktown Storm, will take on Sutherland next Sunday.

Hewson, who competed at four Paralympics and won gold in 1996, has quickly helped the players learn skills at Saturday training sessions between 4pm and 6pm.

"Knowing how to use their chair as a defensive weapon is what we're trying to teach them and when we have the ball it's about trying to get someone close to the basket to shoot," he said.

The side will play its next game at home on August 17, and Hewson not only encouraged anyone who wants to try it out to come down, but said the programme would accept any support to help provide chairs.

"We'd love to have more support," he said.

"We've been able to purchase six chairs through grants and have been using used ones, too."

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