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Australia Wheelchair sports in Tasmania growing, building confidence and community

03:34  24 july  2021
03:34  24 july  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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When it comes to wheelchair sports , women and men often share the court and it can mean smack-talk and intimidation that leads to lost players. But now there are plans to get more people rolling in. When wheelchair basketballer Jess Cronje played her first game for a national mixed team, one of her opponents warned if she got in his way again and stopped him from scoring, he was going to squash her like a bug. Instead of taking her off the court, her coach decided to give the then 16-year-old the job of guarding the much bigger man.

I have tried fitness classes and sports , such as Pilates and Tai Chi, but instructors found it hard to adapt them to my physical impairments. In my experience, you have to know yourself how to adapt a sport , or you need to be lucky to find a coach or teacher who is actually willing and able to adapt it for you. The book emphasises how wheelchair fencing has enriched the lives of disabled people with a variety of disabilities from Cerebral Palsy to poor eyesight. It also explains how wheelchair fencing can help you to maintain a healthy weight, to build self- confidence , provide purpose and make new friends.

On a chilly night in Ulverstone you get the occasional whiff of burnt rubber on a wooden floor as wheelchair basketballers jostle for control of the ball.

It is sport at its best, competitive enough — sometimes aggressively physical — but with a strong emphasis on support, nurture and, especially, fun.

Josh Callegari has needed a wheelchair his whole life after being affected by cerebral palsy at birth. He found wheelchair basketball at 16 years of age and has never looked back.

In more recent times he has also been playing the developing sport of wheelchair Aussie rules, in which a handball is a kick and and underarm throw is a handball.

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New Horizon Tasmania , Reclink Tasmania , Special Olympics Tasmania , ParaQuad Tasmania and Paralympics Tasmania are delighted to invite you to help us mark the launch of TASMANIAN INCLUSIVE SPORTS ALLIANCE. Join us for morning tea and hear the power of inclusive and the impact it has on changing lives. With branches across Australia and New Zealand, DSA has helped countless people of all ages find friendship and freedom in the surf. “We're all about the average person putting into their community and helping their community out,” he says.

Wheelchair Sports WA – 38 Ashbury Crescent, Mirrabooka, Western Australia 6061 – rated 5 based on 12 reviews "An incredible organisation assisting so The group will function the same way the Wheelchair Sports page has always functioned with the benefit of members also being able to share their own stories and achievements. This will make the group a more vibrant and engaging community .

"I've been in a chair since forever. I found this and I love it. It's taken me away to play. The rest is history," Mr Callegari said, resting on the sidelines at half time.

"This is my own sports chair. They're not cheap, typically $8,000-$10,000. You want light and narrow so you can get between players."

Visibility high for disability sports

With the Paralympics coming in August and after another Wimbledon title for Dylan Alcott,  awareness of physical disability sports has rarely been higher.

Hobart was also set to host the National Wheelchair AFL Championships last year before COVID-19 forced a cancellation.

There are hopes that the event could still happen in Hobart in 2021 but it would require a dramatic turnaround in the national COVID-19 situation.

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Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT has a mission to change the lives of people living with a disability They also play a vital role in the community , educating people about sport and healthy activity for Since that time they have developed into a viable organisation based in Tasmania providing services

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Trent Johnson has needed a wheelchair since a mystery illness took hold in his early 20s.

He is now ParaQuad Tasmania's physical disability sports co-ordinator for north-west Tasmania.

"I woke up one morning at 22 with no feeling in my toes and ankle. Over 8 months it went up one leg and down the other," he said.

"Two years after that I ended up in a chair. They don't really know what it is. I've had six diagnoses."

On this evening of wheelchair basketball in Ulverstone, Mr Johnson organises, plays — with considerable skill — and nurtures new and young players as he goes.

Parents, carers play if a chair is free

Ollie, 12, does not stop smiling over the 90 minutes of playing time and clearly exalts in his own ability to wheel fast and cleverly read the play.

Some parents and carers also occupy empty chairs when they are available and join in. They joke about ways to slow Ollie down.

"I'm a two-week veteran now and what you learn is there's more than one thing to do at a time out here," said carer Matt Blake.

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Even when public bathrooms are wheelchair accessible, they don't always provide enough room to get in and out easily. In most big cities, the main form of transport isn't totally available to wheelchair users. London's underground, Paris' metro, and New York's subway all lack lifts in a huge number of stations, which makes commuting really difficult for anyone with limited mobility.

Wheelchair Sports WA highlights sporting , recreational and social news amongst WA's We have recently created a new group within the Rebound WA page to share members news and achievements. The group will function the same way the Wheelchair Sports page has always functioned with the benefit of members also being able to share their own stories and achievements.

"And, being a man, I find it difficult to do two things at once! You really feel it in the shoulders getting up and down that court too."

ParaQuad Tasmania provides sports chairs for Ulverstone's basketball and Aussie rules.

Its CEO, Carmel Clark, said wheelchair sports provide healthy lifestyle options, positive social interactions, and life skills which benefit the wider community.

"Sport and recreation activities offer the physical advantages of good blood circulation, stronger muscles, better balance and co-ordination," Ms Clark said.

"Inclusive sport and recreation brings psychological benefits [such as] improved self-esteem and confidence.

"And it just fosters a belief in each individual's own abilities."

A number of the north-west coast players, including Trent Johnson and Josh Callegari, have had the opportunity to compete interstate, including a national wheelchair basketball carnival in NSW a few years ago.

Mr Johnson also plays wheelchair Aussie rules for AFL club Hawthorn.

He is one of four Tasmanians who travels to Melbourne regularly to play.

"I love all of the disability sports. There's also bocce, rugby, and tennis of course," he said.

"With the Paralympics coming up, I'm most excited about seeing the wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. I'll be following those closely."

Police release CCTV showing theft of electric wheelchair from Adelaide home .
Police release footage of two people wanted over the theft of an electric wheelchair from an Adelaide backyard, with one of the suspects caught on CCTV parading up and down the street on the stolen mobility device.The wheelchair was stolen from the backyard of a property at Richmond in Adelaide's west and "has special features to specifically assist the victim's mobility", police said.

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