May 21, 2017
A national wheelchair basketball player has called for more people with disabilities to join the sport.
“I enjoy the physical nature of wheelchair basketball, there’s a good amount of close contact in the games but also good sportsmanship both on and off the court,” he said.
“We’re getting more people involved but we always need more.
“It may not be for everyone but it’s worth coming along to see it suits you and there is a lot of support.”
Hekenui kept fit with regular weight training, and on court training to help build arm and shoulder muscles.
He also cycled long distances, and had twice completed the final 44km leg from Pembroke Road, Stratford to New Plymouth in the annual Round the Mountain race.
“It’s quite a skilled sport to play, you need to be fit in the upper body.
“One of the hardest skills is being able to judge your speed as you approach the three-point line and shoot for goal,” he said.
Para Fed Taranaki co-ordinator Tracy Coker said the northern league tournament was popular with sport people who have become disabled through spinal injuries, cerebral palsy or amputations.
“Wheelchair Basket Ball New Zealand are working hard to grow the sport.
“We need more referees and Taranaki basketball and the national body are focusing on training courses,” she said.
– Taranaki Daily News