Bali Cup: Indian Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Bags Bronze

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They say if you are passionate about something, everything fall into place. The Indian Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team proved this word by word. The women represented India for the first time at the 4th Bali Cup International Tournament and brought back home a Bronze medal.

The tournament was held in Bali, Indonesia, from July 28 to July 30. The team was up against some well-balanced teams from across the world.

The 12-member team India consisted of diverse people from different states in India. Despite having had only 15 days of practice as a team, they defied all odds to achieve the feat.

“It was a great experience and we are happy that we were able to win a bronze medal even though it is the first time a Paralympics women’s team was representing India,” says Vinolia Violet, the women’s team captain, The News Minute reported.

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“We have been practising for the last three-and-a-half-years for the game individually. There were four matches, we won two matches and we lost two matches. We won two matches with Indonesia and lost matches with Afghanistan and Thailand,” added Vinolia.

The team lacked basic infrastructure and got minimal opportunities to prove its worth. They had their practice sessions at the Sathyabhama University in Chennai.

When asked about the challenges they face, Vinolia said that the lack of communication holds them back as a team. All the team members speak in different languages and that creates a gap. “It is very important to practise together as a team. We should at least practise once in three months. This time, we practised from July 21 to July 27. Before that we had practised for eight days during the selection camp,” Vinolia added.

Also, the team had difficulty finding the right place to practice. “We are trying to find indoor places to practice. If we do it outdoors, we will have to keep changing the wheelchair tires. Many of the players do not have proper courts to practise and some of them do not even have proper wheelchairs, so some of them just do ball practice. So imagine if we are given better facilities what we will be able achieve,” shared Vinolia.

“Participating in the Bali Cup was good exposure for our players. There was a great improvement in their performance as matches progressed. Our players observed and learnt good techniques from other teams which they were able to adopt and apply quickly,” says Madhavi Latha, president of the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India.

Another setback is our team doesn’t have high-performance wheelchairs which is separating them from other teams, Latha said.

The women’s team deserves applause. Well done!

Picture Credit: Midday