“The camp was a chance to show others that they are just like girls from any country, and they are good people wanting to enjoy sport and have a fun time"
More than 60 women from 10 countries gained significant knowledge and experience of wheelchair basketball from a development camp in Chon Buri, Thailand, held 16-21 April.
The camp was run by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Asia Oceania Zone, and the initiative was supported by the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) development arm the Agitos Foundation, the Asian Paralympic Committee and World Wheelchair Express Foundation.
The camp was well received, and saw women between 17 to 51 years old from various countries in Asia – including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Nepal, Oman and Thailand – participate.
The Thailand Wheelchair Basketball Federation hugely supported the camp, providing transport, meals, water and social time. Players from their men’s team also helped supply and maintain wheelchairs for participants.
The camp was led by world class coaches Irene Sloof from the Netherlands and Ines Lopes from Sweden, who ensured that the players learned and developed, while having fun.
IWBF Asia Oceania Secretary General, Don Perriman, said: “If we can evaluate a programme on the smile factor alone this camp has been a raging success. I don’t think I have seen so many happy women in one place since my daughter’s school days. Having said that, they are so very focused on their training and have really put in a fantastic effort. Even in such a short amount of time we have seen a noticeable change in most of the participants, with more intensity and a discernible lift in their skill level – even though it is over 30 degrees and in the 90’s humidity.”
Sixteen coaches also supported the camp and gained coaching tips to take back to their own sessions.
Raj Kumar, a coach from Nepal, said: “This camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the girls I coach, and the chance for them to see so many other girls from different countries playing has made them even more enthusiastic than ever to continue playing.”
One participant, Kamila Rahimi from Afghanistan, said: “The camp was a chance to show others that they are just like girls from any country, and they are good people wanting to enjoy sport and have a fun time.”
More information including photos from the women’s development camp in Thailand can be found on the IWBF’s website.