The demand has never been higher: a European multi sport event with wheelchair basketball as headliner.
Yesterday the news of IPC about the cut on the number of participating men teams at the Paralympic Games 2024, 8 instead of 12, shocked the wheelchair basketball world. For Europe this means there will probably be 2, if very lucky 3 spots left for the strongest and most competitive wheelchair basketball zone of the world.
I have visited several Paralympic Games in different roles: as a fan, staff member and as a son of a wheelchair basketball player. A multi sport event as the Paralympic Games creates a unique feeling of pride, goosebumps and excitement for the organising country, the participants and the fans. It initiates meetings among athletes from different sports and paves a learning path which would never occur in other events.
I would grant that feeling and unique experience to everyone
Lowering the number of teams participating in the Paralympic Games will lower the chance to experience that special feeling, especially for the smaller wheelchair basketball countries. This might affect the motivation of players on the long term, and even worse: the motivation of young potential wheelchair basketball players.
In my eyes, there is a massive opportunity coming up for basketball. Para sport championships already exist in Asia and the Americas, but Europe has no equivalent. With wheelchair basketball as the most constant factor in the program (competition from the opening until the closing), with one medal to fight for, this sport will be the spine of the event. Attracting 11.000 people for the final only, broadcasters are in line for TV rights and wheelchair basketball can present his greatness as it deserves. We can make it happen: the European para championships.
This event can create that described feeling that players from some European countries would never or very rarely experience. Location: Ahoy Rotterdam, the venue of the Euro Vision song festival. This event is supported by the Dutch government, the city of Rotterdam, the European Paralympic Committee, the Dutch basketball federation and the National Paralympic committee. Table tennis, boccia, judo, tennis, cycling, goalball and badminton are already in the final contract stages. Wheelchair basketball can not miss out! We (BEN Foundation and Dutch Basketball Federation) have proposed the bid for Euros 2023 to IWBF Europe, where basketball will be integrated in this event under the supervision and organisation of the women’s Euros 2019 organising team.
What do you think?
A brief description on this event in media you can read here.
Note: this article, is written on personal note by BEN Foundation director Toine Klerks.
BEN op de hoogte!
Meld je aan voor onze nieuwbrief en BEN altijd op de hoogte van de laatste ontwikkelingen!