Sport Week: Wheelchair basketball players to watch for

Here are nine players who are expected to make an impact at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. 19 Mar 2016
A picture of a woman in a wheelchair shooting between two defenders during a wheelchair basketball match.

Janet McLachlan takes a shot at the hoop during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where Canada finished sixth.

ⒸLieven Coudenys
By Laurie Lawira | For the IPC

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.


When wheelchair basketball tips off in September’s Paralympic Games, keep an eye on these players.



Mariska Beijer - NED

The 24-year-old has already won a number of medals, but the Paralympic gold is missing from her collection. She was the top point scorer at the 2015 European Championships, and the 4.0-player is expected to again do so in the women’s tournament in Rio. Beijer and the Netherlands are out to capture the country’s first Paralympics gold medal in the women’s game.


Haizhen Cheng - CHN

Cheng helped China pull one of the biggest upsets in the sport ahead of Rio 2016. The Chinese women’s team knocked out defending Paralympic silver medallist Australia in the regional Championships, earning the lone qualification spot for Rio 2016. Cheng notched a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds in the 59-43 victory, which meant Australia will not be competing at Rio.


Marina Mohnen - GER

The German captain will enter her third Paralympics and seek to defend the gold medal her team won from London 2012. The European Championships featured Germany and the Netherlands in the finals. At last year’s European Championships Mohnen’s 21 points in the final helped her country regain the crown they had lost in 2013.


Janet McLachlan - CAN

McLachlan played stand-up basketball and rugby at an elite level, until she injured her knee. At six feet tall, her stature is a dominating figure in wheelchair basketball, and as an excellent catch-and-shoot player, she was highest-point scorer at both the 2010 World Championships and London 2012 Paralympics. Rio will be her third Paralympic Games.


Rebecca Murray - USA

Murray already has two Parapan American Games gold medals, an IWBF World Championship and the 2008 Paralympics gold next to her name, but the fourth place finish by Team USA in London will be a driving motivation for her this year. Murray looks to be in great form finishing Toronto 2015 with a massive 72 points, the highest in the Paralympic qualification tournament.




Ozgur Gurbulak - TUR

Gurbulak made the 2010 World Championship All-Star team after becoming second top scorer with 23.1 points per game. The 35-year-old was part of the London 2012 campaign where his country finished in seventh, but rebounded in the European Championships the following year, to take silver. Turkey again took silver in 2015. Gurbulak also plays a supporting role by topping the rankings for most assists and second most rebounds in the 2015 tournament.


Abdi Jama - GBR

Expect to find Jama zipping the court. This busy 1.0 player has become known as one of the most dangerous guards. He uses his long reach to his advantage in defence and his precise shooting makes him an asset to Great Britain. He already has a bronze medal, but the British side will want more after tasting victory at two European Championships since 2012.


Steve Serio - USA

The two-time Paralympian guided his nation through the qualification tournament, scoring 68 points, 49 rebounds and had 36 assists overall at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games. The USA went on to win the tournament and dominated defending Paralympic gold medallists Canada 62-39. Serio’s high-percentage shooting is complemented by his fast speed around the court.


Shaun Norris - AUS

After three Paralympic Games representing Australia in wheelchair basketball, Norris has three medals in his possession but the shooting guard will be looking to do better than the silver he won in London. He was the second highest point scorer Australia behind teammate Justin Eveson in London 2012. He averaged 17.22 points per game during the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) World Championships, where Australia retained their title.



Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).


The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.


Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.