The Ethiopian Basketball Federation in association with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offered International Wheelchair Basketball training course for coaches, referees and classifiers coming from all nine regions and the two city administrations.
According to the information from the federation 6 trainees from all regions and the two city administrations and a total of 66 coaches, referees, classifiers and players took part in the training.
Federation Education and Training Expert Abel Tadesse said that the training is aimed specifically to strengthen the wheelchair basketball premier league and city cups clubs competition. The training also helps wheelchair basketball players to prepare for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “Expansion of the game is one of the most important aspects of the course,” Abel said.
The participants who came from different regions are hopefully gain experience, knowledge and skills from the training, the expert added.
Jess Markt from the US is a trainer of the program and Disability Sport and Integration Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He told The Ethiopian Herald that he started such a program some six years back. He says “I travel to many countries where the ICRC works and help nations implement sport programs for persons with disabilities.”
According to him this wheelchair basketball training which is now given for coaches, referees, classifiers and players is a technical training to give basic knowledge of how to play wheelchair basketball.
Sport for persons with disabilities has a positive impact to their various aspects of life such as to enable them learn how to get jobs, to be effective in their education, to start their own businesses, according to the trainer. He explained Ethiopia is one of the countries the ICRC is supporting through the sport in addition to other areas of collaborations.
The goal of this training is to strengthen the wheelchair basketball across the country. Jess Markt said, “The ICRC brought me here to facilitate the training program. In addition to this I am also assigned to identify the facility gaps that exist in the country. This means the ICRC wants to support Ethiopians across the country.”
The trainer said that the ICRC is working with the Ethiopian Basketball Federation to make sure that the program will be sustainable. We are supporting the program that is under the leadership of the locally dedicated actor, the Ethiopian Basketball Federation.
According to the Vice President of the Federation Dr. Tibebe Chekol Wheelchair basketball is a new federation established some two years ago aiming at including persons with disabilities in sport as per the guide of the country’s sports policy that gives attention to an active engagement of persons with disabilities and women in sport.
The federation is working with international partners like the International Committee of the Red Cross to expand the sport across the country, the Vice President added.
The Vice president said the federation has undertaken various activities to expand the sport across the country by organizing city cups, national championships, active participation in Continental championships.
Dr. Tibebe further said that the federation is trying its best to support wheelchair basketball players in all regions and city administrations and it is also exerting utmost effort to form its own Wheelchair basketball association with its own leadership. This will push them to have their own executive committee members responsible to guide their own association.”
The Sport Policy of Ethiopia gives much focus to an active engagement of all citizens based on their preferences with a special attention to include persons with disabilities and women.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN