Wheelchair Basketball has officially been launched in Parkes making it the only place outside Sydney and the Central Coast to offer this opportunity to people with disabitlities. “We have five disabled children currently with their siblings filling in to make up ten players to have a game of five on a side,” said Melinda Pauluaskas, Regional Co-ordinator of Wheelchair Basektball in Parkes.
For Dom Woods it is a great opportunity to make friends and to have fun. Hamish Neville said: “I love having a go at everything.” Anyone with a physical disability of any age is welcome to join the group. “At the moment we have members with different disabilities including a brain tumour, cerebral palsy, Neurofirbromatosis Type 1 and a spinal cord injury,” said Melinda.
She added that abled bodied people can join as associate members, but would not be able to take part in official tournaments or events. The Parkes group is associated with Wheelchair Sports NSW and last Saturday Shaun Fitzgibbon, who is responsible for the Central West and Central Coast for the organisation, arrived from Newcastle with eight more sports wheelchairs and to offer his support. He gave the Parkes team and parents a lot of encouragement and said a team would hopefully start in Dubbo soon. Rochelle Smith, coach and trainer who has been instrumental in getting the group going, said it was not all about the sport, but getting together meant so much
to members in forming friendships and bonds. “It also means a lot to parents to be part of a group and not feel they are on their own.”
The Parkes group is planning an open day early next year to introduce the sport to the wider community and get more members to join.