The Rescue Sports Foundation, in partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), has embarked on the distribution of wheelchairs used to play basketball across Ghana, to help strengthen the sport.
The All Ability Sports Project aims to increase sports opportunities for people with disabilities for their positive social engagement.
Major interventions target people with reduced mobility, the visually impaired and the hearing impaired.
The Disabled Sports Initiative is delivering 100 locally made basketball wheelchairs, at an estimated cost of GH¢166,100 to members.
“The project will primarily benefit the various wheelchair basketball teams across the country; taking into account the men’s and women’s teams,” said coach Benjamin Annor.
Targeted beneficiaries should have access to wheelchairs by the end of May 2022.
“This news has actually sparked their hope and confidence in the All Levels Sports Project; and I think the project can do more for them to enable them to fulfill their dreams as sportsmen and women with disabilities,” added Benjamin.
Dangerous conditions for goalball
However, the condition of the wheelchair basketball court and the court used for goalball is poor.
Goalball is played exclusively by athletes who are blind or visually impaired.
The game is played by two teams competing to score goals by throwing a ball that emits an audible sound when in motion.
According to Benjamin, “Goalball for the blind is supposed to be played indoors, but they played outdoors on a bad pitch.”
The court also lacks a woolen mat to prevent injury, and players lack elbow and knee pads.
The hearing impaired also complain about the lack of special training grounds.
“Member interest has waned because they still have to wait for some competent teams to complete their training before taking their turn.”
Wheelchair basketball players also play on an old court that has lots of potholes, with thorn netting.
They don’t have a lot of basketball wheelchairs to practice on, so they can’t practice with a full set of teams.
All three categories complained about the lack of balls and transport support to and from training.
“They also have difficulties with the use of certain kits and logistics whenever they meet their counterparts from other countries in friendlies and the like; this is due to the fact that they did not use these kits and this logistics during their training sessions”, observed Benjamin Annor.
He takes steps to push for balls and shirts to ease the stress on the teams.
The All Ability Sports project aims to create an avenue where “we could have a joint venture in each region that can generate weekly revenue, to use the proceeds to cover transportation costs to and from training. Such a project will be managed by people with disabilities themselves.
The group therefore appealed to sponsors to provide kits and logistics to the various disciplines to help them meet international standards.