Siem Reap vs. Battambang – Siem Reap Team’s First Game!November 16, 2017
Excitement was clearly in the air as the players from the Siem Reap Wheelchair Basketball Team piled into the large van and headed for their very first game in Battambang. Soulcial Trust began the trainings in Siem Reap in September 2017 for 15-20 people with disabilities, all with loss of limbs from landmines or affected by polio. Almost all of the players had never tried wheelchair sports before then, and many had experienced social isolation for years as a result of their disability.
Since the start of the basketball trainings, the players’ skills have grown exponentially. Trained by the ICRC-sponsored Battambang women’s wheelchair basketball team and talented volunteers, the players went from not being able to maneuver the sports wheelchair in a straight line to passing, dribbling and shooting with ease.
The game in Battambang was an exhibition game at ICRC’s Physical Rehabilitation Centre after the inauguration ceremony for their Inclusive Business and Employment Hub. Although vastly less experienced than the Battambang team, the Siem Reap players gave their first game everything they had and took away even more. “I like the game with the Battambang team because I want to know my strength and want to know how to improve and how well we play,” said Bel, one of the Siem Reap players. “I learned a lot from the Battambang team, because I am not good at blocking. They are very good with blocking. When I shoot they block me and I cannot shoot. My team also did not understand about some rules and when we came back we talked about how to do it different ways, and we learned a lot.”
The final score of the game was 18 – 8 Battambang, with our Siem Reap players scoring the first basket of the game! “I’m really proud of our guys, they gave it their all against a formidable opponent,” said Genni, Soulcial Trust Programmes Director. “They played a couple of other informal games after that first one, and you could see them learning from their mistakes and acting more like a team.”
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