The CBA recently hosted the first wheelchair basketball tournament to be held in Christchurch since before the earthquakes
Christchurch wheelchair player Eamon Wood approached the CBA with the idea following last year’s national tournament, where Eamon was selected for the New Zealand team and named tournament MVP. Wheelchair basketball is fast, exciting and competitive, with wheelchair manoeuvring skills just as important as the usual basketball ones. Able bodied players are able to compete in local competitions, so the sport is available to more than those in wheelchairs.
Six teams from throughout New Zealand attended the two-day tournament, held at Ara Institute of Technology and Bishopdale YMCA. Several prominent CBA members assisted with refereeing, including life members Bruce Martin and Raewyn Willocks, Wildcat Samantha Duggan, and also Sandra French and Sharon Erwood. Experienced FIBA Wheelchair referee Gavin Zimmerman instructed local referees Rebecca Moon, Harry Apes and Matt Mischewski on the finer points of the game, and also controlled the final.
The format was a round robin, followed by a final between the top 2 placed teams.
Canterbury swept through the round robin undefeated 5-0, although only narrowly defeating the Midwest invitational team 27-26. Midwest finished second with a 4-1 record, while Auckland and Bay of Plenty were tied for third on 3-2. Otago and the Armed Forces team “Invictus” finished fifth and sixth respectively.
The final was more of a one sided affair with Canterbury defeating Midwest 58-28, although due to the vagaries of the draw Midwest, had also just played the game previous to the final. There were several stand-out players, including Eamon, Travis and John from Canterbury, Wayne Chase of Midwest, Shane from BOP, and Kauri from Auckland.
Special thanks to TUKI New Zealand for their sponsorship, and also to Rebecca Moon for the administration of the event. The CBA are hoping to host another tournament next year, and trust that the Canterbury basketball community will continue to support this version of our sport going forward.