Monday, February 11, 2013


Text and photos by: Francesco Rocco

Unlike their counterpart wheelchair basketball team players in other developed countries the Cape Coast team are always seen using clinical wheelchairs in practising in their games rather than sport wheelchairs.
The Coach of the Basket Ball team in Cape Coast, Claudius Thompson, 35 years old, Ghanaian of Koforidua, noted that his team partecipated at the All National Games in 2011 and they had third position. They would like to partecipate at  Delta State game in Nigeria, on the 15th of February 2013, but  according to him it seems very difficult to participate due to some financial challenges to transport and accomodate the team in Nigeria. He has written to the Sport Council for support but it has not been given the needed attentino. At the moment they have only seven medical wheelchairs but to partecipate they need official sport wheelchairs  and one cost about $1,500. The basket ball court needs to go through major rehabilitation. They need a bus to transport them to and fro to participate in the games ,  but funds are not enough.
Cludius Thompson and his team
Claudius Thompson, together with other friends, in 2008 established the non-profit organization HOOPS CARE INTERNATIONAL.
The mission of Hoops Care International is to provide opportunities for children and youth to develop leadership skills, healthy lifestyle, work ethic, commitment, honesty and integrity through sport. Hoops Care International believes in the effectiveness of positive role models, and is active in the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, drugs and alcohol abuse.
You see them scattered all across towns: some of the physically chanllege persons  and the visiually impaired, begging in traffic and on the sidewalk. These people are some of Ghana’s estimated 2.5 million disabled, themselves part of the world’s one billion, 80% of whom are thought to live in developing countries like this one.
Not only do they represent a human rights disaster, but also a serious impediment to socio-economic development. This at a time when Ghana is considered, however controversially, to be a lower-middle income nation and whose oil sector is expected to fuel double digit economic growth.
The convention, with the consequent optional protocol, in December 13 th 2006 has been adopted to the center U.N. in New York, and it has been open to the signatures on following March 30. The event was marked by a double record. The protocol is the first  on the human rights of the 21st  century and in the first available day it was signed by 82 countries the convention and from 44 the protocol: the tallest number of signatory of the history to a convention of the United Nations in its day of opening.

Ghana has started as 5 years giving a concrete value to that signature. "This is a first important footstep to guarantee that the 5 million of ghanaian people with disability are as equal citizens, with right peer", said Middle Ssengooba, of Human Rights Watch. "Ghana now needs to adjust its own legislations and its own routines to allow that the promises of the convention become reality for the people with disability." But during this long attended the actions of the African state are not certain as faithful to the appointment or to the intent. HRW has reported the abuses against the disabled persons like violation of the fundamental liberties, impossibility to access the cares primary and serious discriminations from the authorities themselves.

Fortunately it is not always this way. Walking along Cape Coast seaside, on Wednesday and Saturday from 7:00 to the 9:30 in the morning, can be noticed as there is someone to which the matter is particularly to heart.

It is here, on the basketball camp of Cape Coast, that these people, males and females from the 15 years to 50, they are found twice a week, trained by the coach of German origins, Paoulinas, 19 years old. They start with a training before the real match.
In 2012 in the 14th Paralympic Games in Excel, London, Ghana's Charles Teye Narh could only manage an eighth place in the 10-man keenly contested Powerlifting event. Though Teye Narh's 140kg single successful lift, earned him a third place in Group B, it was not enough to keep him in the medal zone after results of Group A, was added to his group pushing him down to the eighth position. He has thus ended his campaign in the competition and joins Raphael Botsyo Nkegbe, who also failed in his attempt to pick a place in the finals of the men's 100 meters T54 category. Teye Narh, faced a stiff competition in the contest, that was won by Liu Lei of China who apparently made a new Paralympic and World records with 218kg in his first attempt and 226kg in an optional fourth attempt.
The principal reason for which it is difficult for the Ghanaian athletes disabled to arrive to high-level is the lack of structures and funds.

Wheelchair basketball is considered one of the major disabled sports practiced. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for this sport. It is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority in wheelchair basketball world wide. FIBA has recognized IWBF under Article 53 of its General Statutes.

IWBF has 82 National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWBs) actively participating in wheelchair basketball throughout the world with this number increasing each year. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball from recreation to club play and as elite national team members. Wheelchair basketball is played by boys and girls, men and women.
Wheelchair basketball sees tremendous competition and interest on the international level. Wheelchair basketball is included in the Paralympic Games that are held every four years for athletes with physical disabilities immediately following the Olympics in the same city that hosts the Summer Olympics just two weeks after the closing of the Summer Games.
A Gold Cup (the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship), is organized two years after every Paralympic Games. Major competition in wheelchair basketball comes from Canada, Australia, USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan.
The 1940s saw the beginning of wheelchair basketball.

For informations about Hoops Care Int. and to contribute, check out this website:

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