Wheelchair basketball squad named

Thursday, May 19th, 2022 07:27 | By
Mary Nakuminja (right) shields the ball from Rachael Akoth during the Commonwealth Games trials at Nyayo Stadium yesterday. PHOTO/ Philip Kamakya

Kenya Wheelchair Basketball Federation (KWBF) has named a provisional eight-member women’s national team was named for the Commonwealth Games set for Birmingham, England, from July 28 to August 8.

 KWBF President Alfred Simiyu, however, bemoaned the old-fashioned wheelchairs the locals have been using, saying they do not meet the demands of the international game even though Kenya is making tremendous steps in the discipline, especially in the women’s category. He urged the government to invest in modern gear if the country is to make an impact in international events.

“The wheelchairs the teams are using were purchased in 2007 when other countries which have made it big in the sport are using modern machines,” said Simiyu.

He added that the authorities need not look at the prohibitive costs of modern wheelchairs but rather what the national teams can offer if they have the same at their disposal.

“When the teams get such wheelchairs, believe me, Kenya can compete effectively with the very best both in Africa and the world at large,” he said.

According to the current market price, the most expensive chair retails at Sh450,000 although Simiyu reckons that the locals can make do with a Sh 300,000 worth of the equipment and still post the desired results.

The official made the remarks soon after the end of the one-day trials at Nyayo National Stadium’s basketball gymnasium yesterday.

Additional slots

However, only four players and two officials (Simiyu and Coach Andrew Kihumba) are shortlisted to travel though the management is keeping its fingers crossed hoping for additional slots from the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK).

Meanwhile, Kihumba has exuded confidence in Kenya making an impression even though the country will be making their maiden appearance at the event.

“The trials were very insightful and I must say virtually all the players impressed which made me spoiled for choice on who to select in the final team. I am confident, really confident that Kenya will give her opponents a run for their money out there,” Kihumba said.

He added: “It will be a big stage in In England but the players need to believe in themselves. They did in the qualifiers and should continue to show just what stuff they are made of.”

Kenya ladies earned the right to feature in the global event through a wild card after an impressive performance in the qualifiers held in Johannesburg, South Africa last October in which they wound up in second position.

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