Basketballers on Wheels!

KATHMANDU: To promote persons with disabilities for social inclusiveness, the first wheelchair basketball league of national level is being organised. This inspiring initiation was announced at a press meet on May 25.

Titled ENGAGE Empowering League (EEL) 2016, it will take place from May 28 to July 9, every Saturday. This is an initiation of ENGAGE and Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Embassy of Switzerland. The league, that will be played under the Round Robin System, will see six teams of boys and three teams of girls.

“The league is taking place to promote persons with disabilities beyond the sports, to build their individual talent and potentiality,” said Kalpana Gurung, Chairperson of ENGAGE.

The event is more than sports. As per Embassy of Switzerland representative Sabine Piccard, “This is necessary to merge such people into society and strengthen their capacity. Therefore, sports is first thing to encourage them to socialise and overcome their disabilities.”

The teams are excited to be a part of the league and expressed hopes to win the title.

Team Captain of the Nepal Army Himal Aryal said, “I’m glad this is happening. We have been winning many competitions in the local level for the last five years. We are also practising on alternative days which will surely lead us to win.”

On the other hand, Team Jawalakhel is ready to give tough competition to Nepal Army. “Recently, we won a match in Pokhara, so I’m hopeful to win this league too,” said its captain Ratnabahadur Rai.

Coaching Nepali wheelchair basketball for the last three years is League Commissioner Michael Rosenkrantz. At the event, he shared his story on how he started coaching in India and came to Nepal three years ago. For him, “Coaching is discovering their ability.”

The matches will take place on May 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 2 and 9 at different venues — Army Physical and Training Center, St Xavier’s College, Maitighar and Padma Kanya Multiple Campus.