A Shropshire school is appealing for donations of wheelchairs after a group of students had a ‘wheelie’ good time at a wheelchair basketball competition.
Teachers at Thomas Adams School, Wem, gave some keen students the opportunity to take part in the Inclusive Zone Wheelchair Basketball (IZB) competition at Shrewsbury Sports Village this month (Feb 3).
But the students – who really enjoyed the event – had not been able to practice at all beforehand as the school in Lowe Hill Road has not been able to purchase any wheelchairs yet.
PE teacher Ceri Kempster said if they had their own chairs it would open up many more opportunities to students.
She said: “This is the third time Thomas Adams School has entered the IZB competition but it was the first for these students.
“The team consisted of able-bodied players, some of whom wouldn’t normally compete in sport events.
“They were really proud to be able to represent their school like so many other pupils in sports teams, it is a tough game and they had not practiced at all beforehand.
“I think if we had our own chairs we would be able to offer IZB to so many other students and who knows – we might find a paralympic athlete amongst our pupils too.”
Mrs Kempster added: “We’d spoken about the sport beforehand but at the competition itself they experienced new techniques and developed their social and team skills too.
“They did really well and an enjoyable day was had by all.
“They put in a superb effort and I’m really proud of everyone who took part.”
The teams included year seven pupils Tom Ashley, Hope Clutton, Aiden Bullough, Scott Hughes and Aiden Rich as well as year nine players Poppy Discombe, Carl Jenks, Callum Bufton-Gwillam and Abbey Dower.
They competed against teams from Sundorne School in Shrewsbury, Burton Borough in Newport, Telford Park and Madeley Academy.
Twelve-year-old Aiden Bullough was captain of one of the teams.
He said: “It was really good to be involved in the competition.
“I was a bit worried about it because we hadn’t practiced but it was good to pitch ourselves against others, we gelled as a team and learnt a lot.
“Although we didn’t win, we learnt from the competition and we are now determined to keep going and get better and better for competitions in the future.
“If we had wheelchairs available at school it would be a huge boost and I think we’d get a lot better.”
Inclusive Zone Basketball is a four-a-side game, developed to enable players who cannot participate in a full game of basketball to enjoy playing the game, but also allows able-bodied and disabled students to compete on a level playing field.
The zones used enable players to be matched in their abilities within these zones.
The school is appealing for specialist IZB wheelchairs.
Head teacher Liz Dakin said: “I was really excited when I heard we were taking part in the wheelchair basketball competition again.
“I am proud to have students able to represent us and experience something new, but I know it is very difficult to do so when we don’t have the facilities to practice beforehand.
“As well as improving their physical activity, the IZB also has an impact on many areas of their education. The game touches on aspects of science, citizenship, literacy and numeracy as well.
“We are dedicated to helping any student experience new things in life and this is yet another exciting development for the school and the pupils here – I just hope we can offer this to more people in the future.”