Sport Week: Top moments in wheelchair basketball

Memories from the past Paralympic Games that cannot be forgotten 23 Jun 2020
wheelchair basketball players
Spain medalled for the first time at a Paralympics with silver at Rio 2016
ⒸGetty Images

A look at the historic moments from the recent Paralympic Games:

1. USA’s double dominance

Rio 2016 Paralympics were memorable particularly for the USA.

Both their men and women’s teams finished on top of the podium, a feat last seen at the 1988 Paralympics. The US women were motivated after missing out on a podium finish at London 2012 to reclaim the titles they won at Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004. Meanwhile, the men broke a 28-year gold medal drought through a superfluous display against every opposition. Both teams powered through the tournament undefeated. Jake Williams led the offensive push over Spain with 20 points, while Becca Murray helped the women’s side top Germany with 33.

2. Sport’s great Patrick Anderson leads Canada to gold

The three-time Paralympic gold medallist from Canada Patrick Anderson retired after the Beijing 2008 Games to enroll at Hunter College in New York City, USA, to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional musician. He came out of retirement in 2011 and proceeded to help Canada claim gold at the London 2012 Paralympics, dominating in the team’s 64-58 final victory over Australia with 34 points. It was a double-double night for Anderson, who also recorded 10 rebounds, another reason why he is considered the Michael Jordan of wheelchair basketball.

A picture of a man sit down on a basket
Patrick Anderson


3. Japan’s podium moment

The Japanese women’s team accomplished an incredible feat for the Asian region when they defeated the Netherlands for the bronze medal at Sydney 2000.  It was the nation’s first medal in the sport since Stoke Mandeville 1984.

4. Historic moment for Algeria

Algeria became the first African women’s wheelchair basketball team to play at Paralympic Games in Rio. It marked the first time the women’s tournament saw all four zones represented at the Paralympics – quite a change considering the women’s event was added to the Paralympic programme at the 1968 Tel Aviv Games. Algeria made a mark when they defeated South Africa for gold at the 2015 Africa Zonal Championships. 

Woman wearing a hijab shooting a basketball in a wheelchair
Algerian team captain Djamila Khemgani


5. Atmosphere to remember

A packed arena and sold out crowds at the Rio 2016 Paralympics provided a lively atmosphere for the athletes to play in. Crowd engagement at games such as Great Britain vs. Brazil (men) or Australia vs. Brazil (women) saw 85 per cent of tickets sold across the nine days of action. A total of 354,734 tickets were sold to watch wheelchair basketball.