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Basketball for the differently-abled takes the spotlight this week as members of Wheelchair Basketball Canada (WBC) conduct player and coaching clinics with the Pilipinas Warriors – the Philippine national wheelchair basketball team.
The Embassy of Canada, in partnership with the Philippine Paralympic Committee, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Makati New World Hotel, brings four WBC players and coaches to Manila from April 19-22 to train their Filipino counterparts. This special project is part of the embassy’s year-long activities commemorating Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
“We’re keen on sports and we’re excited about presenting wheelchair basketball as a mainstream sport – it’s an exciting and challenging version of the game invented by Canadian James Naismith” Canada’s ambassador to the Philippines John Holmes said.
“Through this project, we’d also like to underline both the rights of persons with disabilities to live their lives fully and integrated into society, as well as the importance of sport,” Ambassador Holmes added.
Former wheelchair basketball player and coach Mike Frogley will head the training. He was national coach from 996 to 2004, leading Canada to back to back Paralympics gold medals in 2000 and 2004. Frogley is now the executive director of Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s National Academy – the world’s first full-time, year-round training facility for wheelchair basketball players.
Joining Frogley are players David Eng, who was Canada’s flag bearer at the Rio Paralympic Games, Bo Hedges, and Filipino-Canadian Jason Conrad Naval. The group will also conduct a similar programme in Cambodia after Manila.