Jul 2, 2008, 6:32 AM
KMC Wheelchair Basketball team was on Sunday crowned champions of the Gambia National Paralympic Committee’s July 22nd Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in a final played at the Serrekunda West Basketball courts.
The Kanifing wheelchair basketball team beat Kaolack wheelchair basketball team by 24 baskets to 6 to celebrate the championship glory in fashion.
The tournament, organised as part of activities marking the July 22nd anniversary celebration, took place from 22 to 24 July 2011.
Among the teams competed in the tournament were KMC wheelchair basketball team, Binjona wheelchair basketball team, Kaolac wheelchair basketball team and Mburr wheelchair basketball team.
Ebrima Manka, a Gambian wheelchair basketball athlete, finished first position in the athletics competition which started from the Total Petrol Station opposite the Buffer zone down to the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) grounds on Saturday.
Alagie Bajinka and Malang Tamba, both Gambians, took second and third positions respectively, while Allen Colley and Abdou Khan of Binjona and Kaolac occupied fourth and fifth positions.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the final, Ebrima Karvalo, head coach of KMC wheelchair basketball team, said he was very happy his side did extremely well as they continued to register remarkable successes in the competition.
"This is just a game in which we are trying to bring the disable together because it would not be nice to leave them on their own," he said, adding: "I am delighted that I have motivated them to take up something like a career and also to feel like they are not disables."
"Our level is higher than the level of our opponents looking at the scores and also the way we dribbled," Coach Karvalo stated, adding that they played more effectively than did their opponents.
"Here [in The Gambia] we apply the international rules but in Senegal they commit a lot of fouls, which is not good for their team because that will weaken them in the international scene," Karvalo remarked.
He however used the opportunity to heap praise on Ida Nyang, the only female wheelchair athlete in the association, for winning the 3rd edition of the Sports Journalists Association of the Gambia Award.
"Ida deserved to win the award because she is the only female athlete and basketball player we have in our team," he said.
"She is a very good and hardworking athlete but her performance has dropped for the past five years but I am doing my best to bring her back to her top form."
"We need to compete at the international standard and try to bring medals to our country to show them what we are capably of doing," he stated while urging the general public to come out and support disable sports activity, especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports, companies and the President of the Republic of The Gambia.
Amadou Njie, head coach of Kaolac basketball team, says basketball is either win or loss, adding that the KMC team was more used to the lawn than them but the KMC are not a better team than them.
"Even though they defeated us we are happy and looking forward to coming again next year," he added while noting that the lawn they used to play is different from the one they played on in The Gambia.