Nineteen junior wheelchair basketballers from around the state have come together to represent Queensland at the 2017 Kevin Coombs Cup National Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Townsville which tipped off today.
The Kevin Coombs Cup welcomes the best junior wheelchair basketballers in the nation to compete for their state in mixed teams, with players under 23 years of age for males and under 25 for females.
A silver medal at the event last year disrupted a potential three-peat by Queensland, who won back to back gold medals in 2015 and 2014. However last year was the first time Queensland decided to send two teams to the event, and this year David Bartholomaeus from Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association is confident both Rolling Thunder teams will be able to match the other states and bring home the gold:
“Queensland is benefiting from its investment in nurturing young wheelchair basketballers around the state. We’re proud to have players from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane and the Gold Coast in the Queensland Rolling Thunder teams this year. We have two very experienced sides that feature players who have competed at the highest level, along with a number of newer players who will be learning from the leaders on their team.”
One of the newer players is Brayden Foxley-Conolly, who will be competing in his first Kevin Coombs Cup at the age of 12. Having only played the sport for under two years, Brayden will be looking to further the respect he has built with his older teammates and coaches through hard work and commitment. Having lost his left leg and right hand to meningococcal as a two year old, Brayden is no stranger to challenges, but he has already displayed the perseverance and work-ethic needed to make it in the sport.
“Brayden came into the Mackay Wheelchair Basketball Program as a nine year old,” says Brayden’s first ever coach Peter Sumpter, Regional Coordinator for Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association and Director of the Queensland Junior Wheelchair Basketball Program. “He had to spend a lot of time learning how to use his basketball wheelchair and how to play alongside adult teammates who were very supportive but also very competitive. It’s a tribute to him and his Mother how far he has come to now be picked in the Queensland Rolling Thunder team.”
Thankfully Peter will be in Townsville to witness Brayden take the next push of his wheelchair basketball career, coaching the other Queensland Rolling Thunder team. The Kevin Coombs Cup will continue up to the finals on Saturday 15 April. Live scores can be viewed on the Basketball Australia website: http://www.basketball.net.au/championships/u18/
|QUEENSLAND ROLLING THUNDER MAROON|
|Ben Grice||4.0||Gold Coast|
|Tom O’Neill-Thorne||3.0||Gold Coast|
|Lachlin Synot||2.5||Sunshine Coast|
|Head Coach: Peter Sumpter||Mackay|
|Assistant Coach: Jeremy Synot||Sunshine Coast|
|Team Manager: Donna Sumpter||Mackay|
|QUEENSLAND ROLLING THUNDER WHITE|
|Jake Fulwood||4.0||Sunshine Coast|
|Bailey Rowland||1.5||Gold Coast|
|Head Coach: Tom Kyle||Brisbane|
|Assistant Coach: Alex Davis||Brisbane|
|Team Manager: Donna James||Townsville|