UEL Wheelchair Basketball Club, is a diverse team of individual students, but more than that, It is a family. On one side we have players with a disability and experience competing internationally for GB, while we also have students with no disability, have never sat in a wheelchair and simply want to give it a go. We even have a Paralympian as a coach!!
The golden question that I often ask is how has our club become so successful: Winning the National University Championships in 2017-2018? The answer to breaking down these barriers, I believe starts with a close team. Our club could be compared to a family, with some players who are like the parents and keep us together and then there are the cheeky chappies that try and get away with as much as possible.
Importantly we also view the person above the disability and treat everyone equally, whether individuals have spina bifida, cerebral palsy, are an amputee or have no disability. We all do the same training, share the same humor and try to out drink each other at socials.
My top tip for someone who is thinking to create a club that aims to break down barriers I’d say, don’t take it too serious. Yes, at the end of the day everyone wants to win, but if your participants aren’t enjoying it or smiling they won’t put 100% into the game!
If anyone is thinking to join Wheelchair Basketball or questioning whether to join any other sport I say COME, only joining the club in 2014 myself, never having been in a wheelchair and only done basketball in PE at school. Since bumping into our coach Ann, my Mondays haven’t been the same. I’m not the best one at all on the court however I still enjoy it.
Ellie Clark (Chairperson, UEL Wheelchair Basketball)