Time for another lesson in sports that will be a part of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London just 86 days. This time it’s the fast-paced, exciting and skillful game of Wheelchair Basketball.
Wheelchair Basketball is one of the most-watched sports for the disabled and also has one of the highest participation rates worldwide (there are 82 national organisations for the sport worldwide)
HOW PLAYERS ARE CLASSIFIED
In order to be able to play in national and international competitions players are classified on a scale of 1.0-4.5 points with the lower numbers applying to the least functional athletes and the higher numbers to the least impaired athletes.
A team with a total classification point score of no more than 14 is allowed on court at any one time.
Each team can have up to 12 players with a total of 5 playing on-court at any one time.
THE PLAYING ARENA
One of the amazing things about the sport of Wheelchair Basketball is that it is played on exactly the same-sized court as Basketball for the “able-bods”. The court consists of all the same dimensions from the 3 point line to the height of the hoop and the backboard.
DURATION OF THE GAME
The game consists of four 10 minute quarters with a 15 minute half-time break and 2 minutes between every other quarter.
Play in Wheelchair Basketball is almost identical to that in Basketball with play beginning from the centre of the court with the ball being tossed up by a match official.
The team in possession has 24 seconds to push forward and attempt to score before possession is turned over.
A free-throw is worth 1 point, there is 2 points for a shot outside the field shot zone and 3 points for a shot outside the 3 point area.
The “travelling” rule is invoked when a player touches his or her wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. The player must pass, bounce or shoot the ball before touching the wheels again.
An offensive player cannot be in the free-throw lane more than 3 seconds in possession of the ball.
The wheelchair is considered part of the player so it may be used to block a player.
A technical foul has been deemed to have occurred if a player attempts to lift out of their chair and otherwise similar foul rules apply as with Basketball.
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS FROM THE 2008 PARALYMPICS
In the men’s draw the Australian team, known as the Rollers are the defending champions and in the women’s draw the USA are dual-defending Paralympic champions as well as world champions.
A LOOK AT THE GAME
With the 2012 London Paralympics getting ever closer by the day and the weekend fast approaching us it’s time to have a look at another sport that will feature at the Paralympics.
This week we take a look at the sport of Sitting Volleyball.
This variation of Volleyball has been a part of the Summer Paralympics since the event in 1980 held in the Netherlands where it was first introduced into the competitive schedule for men. Women’s Sitting Volleyball took a little longer (two decades in fact) before it was introduced at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
WHO CAN PLAY?
Unlike many other sports for people with a disability, the sport does not classify athletes in a variety of different groupings according to physical disability. Instead, participants in the sport must meet minimal disability requirements as identified by one or more medical practitioners who are sanctioned to determine the level of disability that potential athletes have.
The disability must be permanent and it can include amputees, people with spinal cord injuries, Cerebral Palsy and les autres (‘the others’), that is, people that do not have a disability that fits into other identified categories of impairment.
When classified, participants are either deemed to have one of two levels of disability, either classified as disability (D) or minimal disability (MD). Only two people classified as having minimal disability are allowed in a team.
ON THE COURT
Sitting Volleyball is played between two teams where there are no more than 6 players on the court at any time and no more than 12 are in the entire team.
Each team is only permitted to have one of their two players classed as having minimal disability on the court at any one time.
The players must all sit on the modified Volleyball court where among other things the net is at a lower level (1.15m for men and 1.05m for women), the court is smaller.
The game is commenced like it’s counterpart with a serve.
Front-row players are allowed to block a serve.
Front-row players must have their pelvis in contact with the floor
Defensive players can assist in an attacking move but cannot cross or touch what is known as the attacking line with their pelvis.
Defensive players in attempting to stop a ball from bouncing in their side of the court are allowed to temporarily lift up off the court past the regular pelvis rule.
The ball can only be touched 3 times before it must go over the net into your opponent’s court.
The game at the Paralympic level has an added special player called a ‘libero player’. This team member is a special defensive player who can be “subbed on” during a stop in play to replace a person on the back court. They are identified because they must wear a different coloured uniform to the rest of the team.
HOW TO WIN
The game is best of 5 sets with the first 4 sets requiring 25 points to win and the final set a score of 15 to triumph.
In the men’s competition the defending champion from the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing is Iran and in the women’s draw the winner and defending champion from Beijing was the home team, China.
A VIDEO OF THE GAME
Here is a YouTube link showing the fast-paced game that is Sitting Volleyball: