Uganda Wheelchair Basketball Sets Lofty Targets After Timely Donation

Uganda Wheelchair Basketball is harbouring dreams of competing at the 2024 Paralympics in France after receiving donations from abroad.

The Wheelchair Basketball Federation received 11 wheelchairs from Peter Hughes of wheelchair Athletes Worldwide And Athletic Director at University of Arizona with his partner Mia Hansen of Southern Arizona Adapted Sports.

Uganda Paralympic Committee boss Bumali Mpindi expressed his delight after receiving the wheelchairs, with each costing in the region of Sh9m: “This is a timely offer.”

“These wheelchairs are very expensive. The one for basketball goes for Sh9m. A Racing wheelchair is 10,000 dollars which is about Sh38m, and that fee can get you a good car. So how many people do you think are willing to spend that money on a wheelchair instead of a car?

“But now that we have got these donations, we are going to seriously compete. We know we are going to move forward and Uganda is going to shine on the World stage after this great push.”

Bumali who doubles as Member of Parliament, vowed to continue fighting to see that donations for Paralympics Sports to be tax exempted.

Jameson Ssenkungu, coach with Uganda Paralympic Committee and Makerere University, engineered the move.

“In 2019, I received a scholarship with global Sports Mentorship programme and I went to United States to study a coaching course for People with disabilities,” Ssenkungu narrated to The-SportsNation.

“Amidst that, I got some friends who later became partners including Peter Hughes, Mia Hansen and I requested them to donate to us wheelchairs because they are expensive and we couldn’t afford them.

“This donation has finally come and we are very happy.”

Ssenkungu said that they are going to use the donation for what it was requested.

“We hope can improve on our performance may be in the future we can have a game with Arizona.

“We want to compete, 2023 is a qualification year for Paralympic games all over the world. Having got this donation, it will help us push ourselves. We shall be able to compete for other competitions as well.

“And if we organise ourselves, we can be entered into qualifications in 2024 Paralympics in France. This is our chance to improve.”

Ssenkungu stated that Wheelchair basketball offer opportunities to athletes with disabilities to achieve sporting success and hope.

He added: “As the name goes – wheelchair basketball: there is no way you can play that game without a wheelchair or any with a fault or any equipment that is not for that game. The game has a lot of contact, and these specialized wheelchairs will help our athletes to play well and improve on their performance.”

“There are many challenges facing the athletes today but mainly injuries and with the arrival of these wheelchairs, we expect the injuries to decrease.”

“We don’t want to stop in Kampala. We want to take the game across the country. These athletes don’t want to feel discriminated or discouraged.”

It’s strong to note that the rules of wheelchair basketball are similar to standing basketball, with a few exceptions.

But in wheelchair basketball, a wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body.

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