Friday: Friendly match
Vision 28-0 Nyarugunga Veterans
This Friday evening, the first match of newly founded wheelchair basketball team, Vision, took place at the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) gymnasium in Remera.
In a friendly game, the NPC-affiliated side – Vision Wheelchair Basketball Team – defeated Nyarugunga Veterans with a stunning final score of 28-0, dominating all the four quarters; 12, 10, 2 and 4, in that order.
“The scores are not bad, but I still expected more than this,” says the team’s head coach, David Twizeyimana. “Vision’s first game was one way to assess the level of the players,” he added.
Vision players, aged from 18 years upwards, started their training only in June this year. Still, they dominated the game from the get-go whistle to the end and didn’t let the ex-combatants a single chance. The people who came to watch the game got surprised when after half-time, the party continued as a mixed one. “The visitors were weak that I decided to play the second half with four women and one man,” the coach explained his second-half changes.
However, it was not only the score that counted for Twizeyimana. What counts to him at this early stage of wheelchair basketball development in the country is its promotion and to motivate the players through friendly games. Twizeyimana hopes that with events like Friday’s, people and institutions get interested and a network of supporters will get established.
Mechak Rwampungu, Vision’s team captain, told Saturday Sport in a post-match interview
It feels good to play again and lead a new team.
The former Kigali Basketball Club (KBC) player, Rwampungu, is paraplegic since early 2015 when the now-defunct side got involved in a fatal bus accident on their way to Huye District for a league game against University of Rwanda – College of Arts and Social Sciences.
Back in the game with renewed vision
The young man is currently registering his own nonprofit organization – 4BF Inzu.
“We want to build a more inclusive society for people who sit in a wheelchair like me. One of our strategies is to do it through basketball, in partnership with NPC,” he explains.
NPC Sports Director, Eric Karasira, is positive that in the future, wheelchair basketball will rise, gain popularity and attract more attention. He further revealed that in December this year, there will be held the first wheelchair basketball tournament in the country.
More information: Mechack’s and my NGO 4BF Inzu.
This article was first published in the print and online edition of The New Times (Sports Desk) on September 22, 2018. Read online.