A nine-year-old pupil with cerebral palsy was able to show off his brand new basketball wheelchair in front of his schoolmates – and three of his Paralympic heroes yesterday.
The day saw British wheelchair basketball players, seven-time Paralympian Simon Munn, three-time Paralympian Peter Finbow, and GB Women’s U25 European and World Gold Medallist Siobhan Fitzpatrick visit the St Mark’s CofE Primary School in Eccles, and help Finn and his friends try out wheelchair basketball.
Finn O’Neill, was given an entry level multi sports wheelchair by British Wheelchair Basketball’s education partner Youth Sport Direct after Finn approached his local MP for Chatham and Aylesford and Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, about his love for wheelchair basketball and his desire to play the sport with his classmates. His new wheelchair will now be used by Finn to participate in inclusive school sport, enjoy playing alongside his friends and reach his sporting potential.
When British Wheelchair Basketball heard about this they arranged the special session of Inclusive Zone Basketball with Finn, which saw four wheelchair basketball players (two per team) compete alongside running basketball players.
Chief Executive of British Wheelchair Basketball, Charlie Bethel, said: “It is essential that young people of all abilities are able to access team sports at a young age.
Inclusive Zone Basketball is a phenomenal sport for enabling schools to deliver PE sessions that actively engage all pupils – irrespective of ability. We are delighted to be able to help Finn and his school discover this sport, and hope today will inspire him to realise his full potential.”
Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch who also attended the event said: “It has been brilliant to watch Finn and his classmates take part in the session this morning – shooting hoops and having fun.
Today shows how inclusive sport can be and the positive impact it has on children’s lives. Finn is a shining example for all of us to follow, as we seek to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in sport for all the benefits it brings. I’d like to thank British Wheelchair Basketball for making this possible.”
Jason Brightman of Youth Sport Direct also added: “We’re delighted to donate a multi sport wheelchair to Finn. This chair will provide him with the opportunity to integrate into sport at school and allow him to pursue extracurricular activities. Offering sport for all young people is essential in building confidence and developing life skills. We’re thrilled to have played our part in Finn enjoying inclusive sport with his friends and peers and look forward to hearing about his progress.”