Wheelchair Basketball Clubs in London
Wheelchair Basketball is the largest and one of the blue ribbon leading Paralympic Sport, with its roots going back to the late 40's. Although initially a rehabilitation and recreational activity for spinal cord injured patients, it quickly developed into a competitive sport and today the National Wheelchair Basketball League consists of 65 teams playing in 9 Divisions.
Wheelchair Basketball embraces a wide range of disabilities including paraplegics, spina bifida, amputees, brittle bones, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. Able bodied players are eligible to play in divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4, junior league and women's league. Virtually everyone who can conceivably play wheelchair basketball is encouraged to do so.
In 1995 wheelchair basketball celebrated its 50th anniversary. The game was first played in the U.S.A., when basketball players injured during World War II adapted the running game to four wheels in order to continue their enjoyment in sport and particularly team sport.
Those early beginnings in U.S. Veterans Administration Hospitals promoted the formation of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (N.W.B.A.) run by the players for the players.
Word of the game spread quickly throughout the U.S.A. and elsewhere. In 1955 the touring U.S. Pan Am Jets team first brought wheelchair basketball to England when they took part in the first international competition at Stoke Mandeville. Up to that time wheelchair netball had been played in England.
2005 saw GB host its first major competition for over a decade, when it hosted the 2005 World Junior Championships in Birmingham in August. A very successful tournament saw USA defeat Japan 73 - 34 in the final and GB losing out on a medal, losing 38 - 61 to Australia in the Bronze medal game. The success of the tournament was very influential in the awarding to GB of the 2010 World Championships, which will again be hosted in Birmingham, fighting off equally high quality bids from Vancouver and Paris.
The 2006 World Championships in Amsterdam in July saw GB Men get off to a great start in their pool games, defeating the USA 48 - 42. However, disappointing results against Australia and France saw them finish 3rd in their pool and a match up against hosts The Netherlands in the quarter finals. Despite leading for much of the game, a poor final quarter saw GB lose 53 - 57, resulting in them having to battle out in the 5th to 8th classification round. Two sound wins against Japan and Sweden resulted in the team finishing in 5th place.