Spotlight on Sport: Wheelchair Basketball and Gymnastics

Monday, 28th January 2019

When the wheelchair basketball athletes roll onto the court and the artistic gymnasts tumble onto the floor at the 2019 Canada Winter Games you’ll want be there to cheer them on.

The 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie was just the beginning for wheelchair basketball in the Canada Games - the sport itself first emerged at the end of the second World War. Many veterans wanted to continue participating in sport but were physically unable to. The first documented game of wheelchair basketball was played on November 25, 1946, by a group of veterans in the United States.

Wheelchair basketball is an inclusive sport in Canada, as both athletes with a disability and able-bodied athletes compete together on a level playing field.

A major rule that differentiates wheelchair basketball from basketball is that travelling occurs when the athlete touches their wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. The individual must pass, dribble or shoot the ball before touching their wheels again.

Janet McLachlan is a notable Canada Games wheelchair basketball aluma. She was a member of the team that won gold at the 2014 World Championship, and a silver medal at the 2011 Parapan American Games. She even went on to compete in the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. Deion Green competed in the 2007 and 2011 Canada Winter Games. He went on to join the national team and competed at the Paralympic Games and World Junior Championships.

Alberta is home to a division of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League. Currently there are six teams participating in the league from cities around Alberta and Saskatchewan.

To experience wheelchair basketball before the Games come to Red Deer, check out the Western Canadian Championship wheelchair basketball event at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre on December 15 and 16.

Be courtside to catch the wheelchair basketball action at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre during week one of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

The Collicutt Centre is hosting two dynamic gymnastic events over the two weeks of the Games - artistic gymnastics and trampoline.