The Maltese Olympic Committee (MOC) today donated five wheelchairs to the Malta Wheelchair Basketball Association (MWBA) as part of its Sports for All initiatives.
The Sports for All Commission, led by MOC Director David Azzopardi, works towards increasing participation in varied sports activities by children, youngsters and adults. The concept has also been introduced in a number of schools.
The donation of wheelchairs for wheelchair basketball is the result of the Basketball 3×3 project, which was spearheaded by the MOC in collaboration with the Malta Basketball Association. A total of eleven schools (government and church) took part, with a total participation of over 2,500 students.
The project took place in 2019 and whilst plans for other activities were in place for 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic halted such activity.
“One main objective of Sport for All is inclusion. The students and teachers alike enjoyed taking part in wheelchair basketball, and many learned from the MWBA athletes present. This enthusiasm spurred us to contribute towards the development of this sport, and with today’s presentation the MWBA will be able to proceed to the next level” explained David Azzopardi, MOC Director and Sports for All Commission Chairman.
Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced game played by two teams of five players where the object is to shoot the ball into the opposing team’s basket. Following the success of the 3×3 discipline in the running basketball game, there has been a focus on introducing the 3×3 discipline in the wheelchair basketball games.
“Malta Wheelchair Basketball Association is committed to empower individuals to reach their full potential on and off the court, by providing everyone with the equal opportunity to play, learn and contribute to this all-ability sport. Today’s donation is a much needed boost for the sport. The MWBA is working towards increasing the number of athletes and supporters and the increase of wheelchairs will certainly facilitate this exercise..” Commented Noel Aquilina, President of the Association.
Further to the interest the sport has generated, the MOC is looking into the possibility of adding 3×3 Basketball, including 3×3 Wheelchair Basketball in its programme of events for the. forthcoming Games of the Small States of Europe, scheduled to take place in Malta in 2023.
The project was made possible through funding and support of Olympic Solidarity programmes.