Wiki Actu en

July 1, 2014

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball coach Tom Kyle

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball coach Tom Kyle

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Toronto , Canada — What experiences makes a coach of an international sports team? Wikinews interviewed Tom Kyle, the coach of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders, in Toronto for the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.

Tom Kyle
Image: Hawkeye7 .

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Tell us about yourself. First of all, where were you born?

Tom Kyle: I was born in Cooma, in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Way back in 1959. Fifteenth of June. Grew up in the Snowy Mountains Scheme with my family. At that stage my father worked for the Snowy scheme. And started playing sport when I was very young. I was a cricketer when I first started. Then about the age of 12, 13 I discovered basketball. Because it had gotten too cold to do all the sports that I wanted to do, and we had a lot of rain one year, and decided then that for a couple of months that we’d have a go at basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you took up basketball. When did you decide… did you play for the clubs?

Tom Kyle: I played for Cooma. As a 14-year-old I represented them in the under-18s, and then as a 16-year-old I represented them in the senor men’s competition. We played in Canberra as a regional district team. At the age of 16 is when I first started coaching. So I started coaching the under-14 rep sides before the age of 16. So I’m coming up to my forty years of coaching.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you formed an ambition to be a coach at that time?

Tom Kyle: Yeah, I liked the coaching. Well I was dedicated to wanting to be a PE [Physical Education] teacher at school. And in Year 12 I missed out by three marks of getting the scholarship that I needed. I couldn’t go to university without a scholarship, and I missed out by three marks of getting in to PE. So I had a choice of either doing a Bachelor of Arts and crossing over after year one, or go back and do Year 12 [again]. Because of my sport in Cooma, because I played every sport there was, and my basketball started to become my love.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png} You still played cricket?

Tom Kyle: Still played cricket. Was captain of the ACT [Australian Capital Territory] in cricket at the age of 12. Went on to… potentially I could have gone further but cricket became one of those sports where you spend all weekend, four afternoons a week…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know what it’s like.

Tom Kyle: At that stage I was still an A grade cricketer in Cooma and playing in Canberra, and rugby league and rugby union, had a go at AFL [Australian Football League], soccer. Because in country towns you play everything. Tennis on a Saturday. Cricket or football on a Sunday. That sort of stuff so… And then basketball through the week.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you didn’t get in to PE, so what did you do?

Tom Kyle: I went back and did Year 12 twice. I repeated Year 12, which was great because it allowed me to play more of the sport, which I loved. Didn’t really work that much harder but I got the marks that I needed to get the scholarship to Wollongong University. It was the Institute of Education at that stage. So I graduated high school in ’78, and started at the Institute of Education Wollongong in ’79, as a health and PE — it was a double major. So a dual degree, a four year degree. After two years there they merged the Institute of Education with the University of Wollongong. So I got a degree from the University of Wollongong and I got a degree from the Institute of Education. So I graduated from there in ’83. At that stage I was coaching and playing rep basketball in Wollongong in their team underneath the NBL I played state league there for Shellharbour. Still coaching as well with the University, coaching the university sides. It was there that I met up with Doctor Adrian Hurley, who was then one of the Australian coaches, and he actually did some coaching with me when I was at the University, in the gym. So that gave me a good appreciation of coaching and the professionalism of it. He really impressed me and inspired me to do a bit more of it. So in ’84 I got married and I moved to Brisbane, and started teaching and looking after the sport of basketball and tennis at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You moved to Brisbane for the job?

Tom Kyle: Yes, I was given a job and a house. The job basically entailed looking after their gymnasium and doing some part-time teaching as well as being the basketball convener and tennis convener. I looked after those sports for the private boys school. Churchie is a very big school in Brisbane and so I did that in ’84 with my wife at that stage and we lived on the premises. In 1985 I took a team of fifteen boys from Churchie into the United States for a couple of summer camp tours which we do, and I got involved in the Brisbane Bullets team at that stage, getting them moved in to Churchie to train. The Brisbane Bullets was the NBL team in Brisbane at the time. So that got me involved in the Brisbane coaching and junior basketball. I was actually in charge of junior basketball for the Brisbane association. As part of that, I coached at Churchie as well. Looked after some things at the Brisbane Bullets’ home games. So that got me well and truly involved in that. And then in ’85 was the birth of my first son, and with that came a bit of change of priorities, so then in 1986 I moved back to Sydney. I got offered a job at Harbord Diggers Memorial Club at Harbord, looking after their sports centre. So I saw that as an opportunity to get out of, I suppose, the teaching side of things at that stage didn’t appeal to me, the coaching side did, the teaching side and the fact that you had to follow the curriculums, and some of the things you weren’t allowed to have fun, to me if you’re going to learn you’ve got to have fun. So that was my sort of enough for the teaching side, I figured I’d go and do something else, and get to keep my coaching alive on the side. So I moved back to Sydney, with my family and my young son. I had a second son in 1987, and I started coaching the Manly-Warringah senior men’s and development league teams. We were in the state league at that stage. So I had both of those teams and I was coaching them, travelling around the north of the state, and competing. We were fortunate enough we came second the year I was the head coach of the men in the state competition for our area. That gave me a whole new perspective of coaching, because it was now senior men’s coaching as well as junior men’s. We had people like Ian Davies coming out of the NBL at Sydney and trying out wanting to play with the men’s squad. Fair quality in that group. The Dalton boys came out of that program. I didn’t coach them, but Brad and Mark Dalton who played for the Kings. That gave me a good couple of years. At that stage I’d changed jobs. I’d actually moved up to Warringah Aquatic Centre in Sydney. Which was at the time the state swimming centre. And I was the director of that for a year. Or eighteen, nineteen months. In that time we held the selection criteria for the 1988 Seoul Olympics swimming. So the national championships and what they call the Olympic selection qualifiers. So we held them at the Warringah Aquatic Centre when I was in charge of it which made it quite an interesting thing, because there I got to see elite sport at its best. Australian swimming. All the swimmers coming through. Lisa Curry has just retired, and I saw her. All the swimmers going to Seoul. That gave me a good appreciation of professional sport, as well as managing sports facilities. So I was there for two years, eighteen months basically. And we’d made a decision that we wanted to come back to Brisbane. So moved back to Brisbane in 1989, to take up a job as a marketing officer at the Department of Recreation at Brisbane City Council. That was my full-time job. Meanwhile, again, I got involved in a bit of coaching. My sons were looking at becoming involved, they were going through St Peter Chanel School at The Gap, and that was a feeder school for Marist Brothers Ashgrove in Brisbane, which was a big Catholic boys’ school in Brisbane. So I started to get involved in Marist Brothers Ashgrove basketball program, and I became the convener of basketball as well as the head coach there for about seven or eight years running their program, while my boys, obviously, were going through the school. That was a voluntary thing, because I was still working for the [Brisbane City] Council when I first started. At that stage I’d also quit the council job and started my own IT [Information Technology] company. Which was quite interesting. Because as a sideline I was writing software. At Warringah Aquatic Centre one of the things when I got there they didn’t have a computer system, they only had a cash register. And I asked them about statistics and the council didn’t have much money, they said, “well, here’s an old XT computer”, it was an old Wang actually, so it was not quite an XT.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know the ones.

Tom Kyle: You know the ones?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes.

Tom Kyle: And they gave me that, and they said, “Oh, you got no software.” One of the guys at council said “we’ve got an old copy of DataEase. We might give you that,” which old an old database programming tool. So I took that and I wrote a point of sale system for the centre. And then we upgraded from DataEase, we went to dBase III and dBase IV. Didn’t like dBase IV, it had all these bugs in it, so my system started to crash. So I’d go home at night and write the program, and then come back and put it into the centre during the day so they could collect the statistics I wanted. It was a simple point of sale system, but it was effective, and then we upgraded that to Clipper and I started programming object orientated while I was there, and wrote the whole booking system, we had bookings for the pools, learn-to-swim bookings, point of sale. We actually connected it to an automatic turnstyle with the coin entry so it gave me a whole heap of new skills in IT that I never had before, self-taught, because I’d never done any IT courses, when I went to Brisbane City Council and that didn’t work out then I started my own computer company. I took what I’d written in Clipper and decided to rewrite that in Powerbuilder. You’ve probably heard of it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes.

Tom Kyle: So that’s when I started my own company. Walked out of the Brisbane City Council. I had an ethical disagreement with my boss, who spent some council money going to a convention at one place and doing some private consultancy, which I didn’t agree with Council funds being done like that, so I resigned. Probably the best move of my business life. It then allowed me then to become an entrepreneur of my own, so I wrote my own software, and started selling a leisure package which basically managed leisure centres around the country. And I had the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] as one of my clients.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Oh!

Tom Kyle: Yes, they have a turnstyle entry system and learn-to-swim booking system and they were using it for many years. Had people all over the country. I ended up employing ten people in my company, which was quite good, right through to, I suppose, 1997?, somewhere in there. And I was still coaching full time, well, not full time, but, voluntary, for about 35 hours a week at Ashgrove at the time, as well as doing, I did the Brisbane under-14 rep side as well, so that gave me a good appreciation of rep basketball. So I’d been coaching a lot of school basketball in that time. And then in 2000 I decided to give that away and went to work for Jupiters Casino. Bit of a change. I started as a business analyst and ended up as a product development manager. I was doing that, I was going through a divorce, still coaching at Ashgrove, I had been at Ashgrove now from 1992 through to 2003. I had been coaching full time as the head coach, coordinator of all the coaches and convener of the sport for the school. We won our competitions a number of times. We went to the state schools competition as a team there one year. Which we did quite well. Didn’t win it but, did quite well. In 2003 my boys had finished at school and I’d got a divorce at that stage. Been offered another opportunity to go to Villanova College, which was a competing school across the other side of the river. So I started head coaching there for five years. It was there where I started to get into wheelchair basketball. It is an interesting story, because at that stage I’d moved on from Jupiters Casino. I’d actually started working for various companies, and I ended up with Suncorp Metway as a project manager. Got out of my own company and decided to earn more money as a consultant. [evil laugh]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A common thing.

Tom Kyle: But it was in Suncorp Metway where I got into wheelchair basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How does that happen?

Tom Kyle: At the time I was spending about 35 to 40 hours a week at Villanova College, coaching their program and my new wife, Jane, whom you’ve met…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who is now the [Gliders’] team manager.

Tom Kyle: Correct. She was left out a little bit because I’d be with the guys for many many hours. We did lot of good things together because I had a holistic approach to basketball. It’s not about just playing the game, it’s about being better individuals, putting back into your community and treating people the right way, so we used to do a lot of team building and […] cause you’re getting young men at these schools, trying to get them to become young adults. And she saw what we were doing one time, went to an awards dinner, and she was basically gobsmacked by what relationship we had with these boys. How well mannered they were and what influence we had. How these boys spoke of the impact on their lives. It was where she said to me, “I really want to get involved in that. I want to be part of that side of your life.” And I said, “Okay, we might go out and volunteer.” We put our names down at Sporting Wheelies, the disabled association at the time, to volunteer in disabled sports. Didn’t hear anything for about four months, so I thought, oh well, they obviously didn’t want me. One of my colleagues at work came to me and he said “Tom, you coach wheelchair basketball?” I said, “yeah, I do.” And he said, “Well, my son’s in a wheelchair, and his team’s looking for a coach. Would you be interested?” And I thought about it. And I said, “Well, coaching for about 35 hours a week over here at Villanova School. I don’t think my wife will allow me to coach another 20 hours somewhere else, but give me the information and I’ll see what we can do.” He gave me the forms. I took the forms home. It was actually the Brisbane Spinning Bullets, at that stage, which was the National [Wheelchair Basketball] League team for Queensland. They were looking for coaching staff. I took the forms home, which was a head coach role, an assistant head coach role, and a manager role. I left them on the bench, my wife Jane took a look at it and said, “Hey! They’re looking for a manager! If I’d be the manager, you could be the head coach, it’s something we could do it together. We always said we’d do something together, and this is an opportunity.” I said, “Okay, if you want to do that. I’m still not going to drop my Villanova commitments, I’m going to keep that going. So that was in the beginning of 2008. So we signed up and lo and behold, I got the appointment as the head coach and she got the appointment as the manager. So it was something we started to share. Turned up at the first training session and met Adrian King and Tige Simmonds, Rollers, Australian players… I’d actually heard of Adrian because we’d had a young boy at Ashgrove called Sam Hodge. He was in a chair and he brought Adrian in for a demonstration one day. I was quite impressed by the way he spoke, and cared about the kids. So to me it was like an eye-opener. So I started coaching that year, started in January–February, and obviously it was leading in to the Paralympics in 2008, Beijing. And coaching the team, I started coaching the national League, a completely different came, the thing I liked about it is wheelchair basketball is like the old-school basketball, screen and roll basketball. You can’t get anywhere unless somebody helps you get there. It’s not one-on-one like the able-bodied game today. So that was really up my alley, and I really enjoyed that. I applied a couple of things the boys hadn’t actually seen, and as it turns out, I ended up coaching against the [Perth] Wheelcats in a competition round. And I didn’t at the time know, that the guy on the other bench was Ben Ettridge, the head coach for the Rollers. And after the weekend we shook hands and he said, “I really like what you do, what you’re trying to do with this group. And he said I like the way you coach and your style. Would you be interested if the opportunity came up to come down to Canberra and participate in a camp. He said “I can’t pay you to be there, but if you want to come along…” I said “Absolutely. I’ll be there.” So about three or four weeks later I get a phone call from Ben and he said “We’ve got a camp coming up in February, would you like to come in?” I said: “Yep, absolutely”, so I went and flew myself down there and attended the camp. Had a great time getting to know the Rollers, and all of that, and I just applied what I knew about basketball, which wasn’t much about wheelchair, but a lot about basketball, ball movement and timing. And I think he liked what he saw. The two of us got on well. And out of that camp they were getting the team prepared to go to Manchester. They were going into Varese first, Manchester for the British Telecom Paralympic Cup that they have in May, which is an event that they do prior to some of these major events. That was 2009, my mistake, after Beijing; so the camp was after Beijing as well. So I was sitting at Suncorp Metway running a big CRM program at the time, because they had just merged with Promina Insurances, so they’d just acquired all these companies like AAMI, Vero and all those companies, so we had all of these disparate companies and we were trying to get a single view of the customer, so I was running a major IT project to do that. And I get a phone call from Ben on the Friday, and he said “Look, Tom, we’re going to Varese in the May, and we’re going on to Manchester.” I said, “I know”. And he said, “Craig Friday, my assistant coach, can’t make it. Got work commitments.” I said: “Oh, that’s no good.” And he said: “Would you be interested in going?” And I said “Well, when’s that?” And he said: “Monday week.” And this was on the Friday. And I said: “Look, I’m very interested, but let me check with my boss, because I [am] running a big IT project.” So I went to my boss on the Friday and I said “Look, I am very keen to do this Australian opportunity. Two weeks away. You okay if I take two weeks off?” And he said. “Oh, let me think about it.” The Monday was a public holiday, so I couldn’t talk to him then. And I said “Well, I need to know, because it’s Monday week, and I need to let him know.” And he said, “I’ll let you know Tuesday morning.” So I sort of thought about it over the weekend, and I rang Ben on the Sunday night I think it was, and I said “I’m in!” He said: “Are you okay with work?” I said: “Don’t worry about that, I’ll sort it out.” Anyway, walked into work on Tuesday morning and the boss said… and I said I just to put it on the table: I’m going. You need to decide whether you want me to come back.” And he said: “What?!” And I said, “Well, I love my basketball. My basketball has been my life for many years, many, many hours. Here’s an opportunity to travel with an Australian side. I’m telling you that I’m taking the opportunity, and you need to determine whether you want me back. ” And he said: “Really?” And I said: “Yeah. Yeah. That’s it.” And he said: “Well, I’ll have to think about that.” And I said, “well you think about it but I’ve already told the Australian coach I’m going. It’s a decision for you whether you want me back. If you don’t, that’s fine, I don’t have a problem.” So on the Wednesday he came back and said: “We’re not going to allow you to go.” I said: “Well, I’m going. So here’s my resignation.” He says: “You’d really do that?” And I said: “Absolutely.” And I resigned. So on the Friday I finished up, and got on a plane on Monday, and headed to Varese as Ben’s assistant on the tour. Got to spend a bit more time with Tige Simmonds and Adrian and Justin and Brad and Shaun and all the boys and had a fabulous time. Learnt a lot. And then we went on to Manchester and learnt even more, and I think Ben was quite happy with what I’d done. With my technical background I took over all the video analysis stuff and did all that recording myself. We didn’t really want any hiccups so he was pretty happy with that. So after that Ben asked me if I would be interested in becoming an assistant coach with the under-23s, because the then-coach was Mark Walker and Ben Osborne was his assistant but he wanted somebody else who, as he put it, he could trust, in that group, because a number of his developing players were in that group. So that meant that I had some camps to do in June when I came back, and then in July, think it was July, 2009, went to England and Paris with the under-23s for the world championships. That was my first foray as an assistant coach officially with the Australian team, and I was the assistant coach. It was a combined team at that stage, boys and girls. Cobi Crispin was on that tour. Amber Merritt was on that tour. Adam Deans was on that tour, Colin Smith, Kim Robbins, John McPhail, all of those. There was a number of junior Rollers coming through that group. Bill Latham was on that tour. He really appreciated what I’d done there, and when Craig Friday said that he was having a family and couldn’t commit to the next year in 2010 which was the world championship year, Ben asked me to join the program. So that’s how I started. So in 2010 I attended my first official world championships with the Rollers, and we won.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes!

Tom Kyle: So that was an amazing experience to go on that tour and to see what a championship team looks like under the competition of that ilk. And I was then the assistant coach basically right through to London. After London, Ben was quite happy for me to continue. I was doing it voluntarily. By this stage, 2011, I’d given up all the Villanova stuff so I concentrated just on the wheelchair and my Queensland group. And I started to build the Queensland junior program, which featured Tom O’Neill-Thorne, Jordon Bartley, Bailey Rowland, all of those sort of players. You probably don’t know too many of them, but,

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png No.

Tom Kyle: They’re all the up-and-comers. And three of those were in last year’s, 2013 under-23s team. So in 2012 obviously we went to Varese then on to London for the Paras. Won silver in that. When I came back, Ben asked me to do the under-23s as the head coach, and asked me who I wanted as my assistant, so in the December, we, David Gould and I…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you selected David as your assistant?

Tom Kyle: Yes! Yes! Yes! I had a lot of dealings with David, seeing him with the Gliders. Liked what I saw. Plus I’d also seen him with the Adelaide Thunder. He was coaching them for a while, and I really liked the way he worked with kids. He’d also done a camp with the under-23s in 2012 because I couldn’t attend, himself and Sonia Taylor. What was Sonia’s previous name before she married Nick Taylor? […] Anyway, they did a development camp in January 2012 with the under-23s group because I couldn’t attend. Good feedback coming back from that. In the April, the Rollers had gone off to Verase, and there was an opportunity to go to Dubai with the under-23/25 age group. So David and Sonia took them to Dubai and did a good job with them, a really great job with them. So the job for the 23s came up in November 2012. I applied. Got the job. And then was asked who I would want as my assistants, and Ben told me who the other applicants were and I told him, yep, happy with both of those. David became my first assistant […] So we took the under-23s group in December. Had a couple of camps in the first part of 2013, getting ready for the world championships in Turkey in September. At that stage we got to about June, and the head coach for the Gliders came up as a full time position.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They hadn’t had a full-time coach before.

Tom Kyle addresses his players at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Tom Kyle: No, it was all voluntary so John Triscari was, well, not voluntary; was getting a little bit of money, not a great deal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But it wasn’t a full time job.

Tom Kyle: No. So Basketball Australia decided that they needed a full-time coach, which was a big investment for them, and they thought this was the next step for the Gliders. So at the end of May, I remember talking to my wife, because at that stage she’d been on the Gliders’ tour as a replacement manager for Marion Stewart. Marion couldn’t go on a certain tour, to Manchester, so Jane filled in. And they talked to her about possibly becoming the manager of the Gliders moving forward if Marion ever wanted to retire. So in the May when the job came up I looked at it and went, well, can’t, it’s a conflict of interest, because if I put my name up, potentially Jane misses out on being the manager. Also I thought if Ben really wants me to go for it he would have asked me. He hasn’t mentioned it, so, I didn’t apply at first look at it. And then I was just happening to talk to Ben on the side about something else and he asked me if I had put in for the Gliders and I said no I hadn’t. And he asked me why, and I told him if you would have I probably would have, and with Jane. And he said Jane shouldn’t be an issue, and he said I want you to go for it. I said, well, if you’re happy, because I’m loyal to whoever I’m with, I said I’m loyal to you Ben, and at the end of the day I’d stay with the Rollers if you want me to stay with the Rollers. Because for me I enjoy doing whatever I’m doing, and I love the program. He said no, no, I want you to put in for it. So then I had to discuss it with the wife because it meant initially that would want us to move to Sydney. That was still in the cards. So Jane and I had a talk about that. And I said, look, I’d go for it on the condition that it didn’t interfere with Jane’s opportunity to become the manager. So I put in my resume, I got an interview, and in the interview I went to Sydney, and I put all the cards on the table. I said look, the bottom line is that if it’s going to jeopardize Jane’s chances of being the manager, I will opt out. And at that stage they said no, they see that as possibly a positive, rather than a negative. So I said okay, if that’s the case. It’s funny. On the day we had the interview I ran in David Gould back in the airport, because he’d obviously had his interview. And we were talking and I said: “Oh, I didn’t think you were going for it.” And he said, yeah, I wasn’t, because I don’t really want to move to Sydney. And I said, well that was one of the other reasons I did put in for it, because if you didn’t get it I wanted to make sure someone who was passionate about the Gliders to get it. And there’s a couple on the list who may be passionate, but I wasn’t sure. I knew you were, because we’d talked about it at the under-23s. So we had a chat there and I said, if he gets it, he’d put me as an assistant and if I get it I’d put him as an assistant. Because we’d worked so well with the under-23s together as a unit. And we do. We work very well together. We think alike, we both like to play the game etc. So it turns out in June I got a phone call from Steve Nick at that stage and got offered the job with the Gliders. So I started on the first of July full time with the Gliders, but I still had the under-23s to get through to September, so we had a camp, our first camp in July with the Gliders. Went to a national league round in Sydney and then we bused them down to Canberra for a camp. And that was quite an interesting camp because there were a lot of tears, a lot of emotion. It was the first camp since London. It was eighteen months, nearly two years since London [editor’s note: about ten months] and nobody had really contacted them. They’ve been after a silver medal, left. Just left. They were waiting for someone to be appointed and no one had been in touch. And all that sort of stuff. So we went through a whole cleansing exercise there to try and understand what they were going through. And I felt for the girls at that stage. ‘Cause they put a lot of work into being the Gliders, and they do all the time. But they felt disconnected. So that was an emotional camp, but as I said to David at the time, we’ve got to build this program. Since then we’ve been working through. We did the under-23 worlds with the junior boys in September in Turkey. They earned third, a bronze medal. Could have potentially played for gold, but just couldn’t get it going in the semifinal. And then we came back to the Gliders and got ready for Bangkok. Bangkok was our first tour with the Gliders, which was a huge success. Because we got some confidence in the group, and that’s one of the things we’re working on is building their confidence and a belief in themselves. Being able to put things together when it really counts. So that was one of our goals. So Bangkok was our first tour, and I think we achieved a lot there. Got a good team bonding happening there. We’ve since then been to Osaka in February, which was another good outing for the girls. Five day experience with playing five games against the Japanese. That was good. Then in March we brought them here [Canada] for a tournament with the Netherlands, Canada and Japan, and then down to the United States for a four game series against the US. And again, that was a good learning experience. Then back home for a month and then we got to go to Europe, where we played in Frankfurt for the four games, and to Papendal with the Netherlands team. We played three games there before we came here.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So that’s a pretty detailed preparation.

Tom Kyle: Yeah, it’s been good. Pretty detailed. It’s been good though. We’re still growing as a group. We’re a lot stronger than we ever have been, I think, mentally. But we’re now starting to get to the real honesty phase, where we can tell each other what we need to tell each other to get the job done. That’s the breakthrough we’ve made in the last month. Whereas in the past I think we’ve been afraid to offend people with what we say. So now we’re just saying it and getting on with it. And we’re seeing some real wins in that space.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 3, 2014

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Preston, Victoria, Australia — On Saturday, Wikinews interviewed Tina McKenzie, a former member of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. McKenzie, a silver and bronze Paralympic medalist in wheelchair basketball, retired from the game after the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Wikinews caught up with her in a cafe in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Preston.

Tina McKenzie
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee.

Tina McKenzie: [The Spitfire Tournament in Canada] was a really good tournament actually. It was a tournament that I wish we’d actually gone back to more often.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Who plays in that one?

Tina McKenzie: It’s quite a large Canadian tournament, and so we went as the Gliders team. So we were trying to get as many international games as possible. ‘Cause that’s one of our problems really, to compete. It costs us so much money to for us to travel overseas and to compete internationally. And so we can compete against each other all the time within Australia but we really need to be able to…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s not the same.

Tina McKenzie: No, it’s really not, so it’s really important to be able to get as a many international trips throughout the year to continue our improvement. Also see where all the other teams are at as well. But yes, Spitfire was good. We took quite a few new girls over there back then in 2005, leading into the World Cup in the Netherlands.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Was that the one where you were the captain of the team, in 2005? Or was that a later one?

Tina McKenzie: No, I captained in 2010. So 2009, 2010 World Cup. And then I had a bit of some time off in 2011.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Gliders have never won the World Championship.

Tina McKenzie: We always seem to have just a little bit of a chill out at the World Cup. I don’t know why. It’s really strange occurrence, over the years. 2002 World Cup, we won bronze. Then in 2006 we ended up fourth. It was one of the worst World Cups we’ve played actually. And then in 2010 we just… I don’t know what happened. We just didn’t play as well as we thought we would. Came fourth. But you know what? Fired us up for the actual Paralympics. So the World Cup is… it’s good to be able to do well at the World Cup, to be placed, but it also means that you get a really good opportunity to know where you’re at in that two year gap between the Paralympics. So you can come back home and revisit what you need to do and, you know, where the team’s at. And all that sort of stuff.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Unfortunately, they are talking about moving it so it will be on the year before the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The competition from the [FIFA] World Cup and all.

Tina McKenzie: Right. Well, that would be sad.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But anyway, it is on next year, in June. In Toronto, and they are playing at the Maple Leaf Gardens?

Tina McKenzie: Okay. I don’t know where that is.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I don’t know either!

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png We’ll find it. The team in Bangkok was pretty similar. There’s two — yourself and Amanda Carter — who have retired. Katie Hill wasn’t selected, but they had Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy back, so there was ten old players and only two new ones.

Tina McKenzie: Which is a good thing for the team. The new ones would have been Georgia [Inglis] and?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Caitlin de Wit.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah… Shelley Cronau didn’t get in?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png No, she’s missed out again.

Tina McKenzie: Interesting.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That doesn’t mean that she won’t make the team…

Tina McKenzie: You never know.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You never know until they finally announce it.

Tina McKenzie: You never know what happens. Injuries happen leading into… all types of things and so… you never know what the selection is like.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They said to me that they expected a couple of people to get sick in Bangkok. And they did.

Tina McKenzie: It’s pretty usual, yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They sort of budgeted for three players each from the men’s and women’s teams to be sick.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really? And that worked out?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah. I sort of took to counting the Gliders like sheep so I knew “Okay, we’ve only go ten, so who’s missing?”

Tina McKenzie: I heard Shelley got sick.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png She was sick the whole time. And Caitlin and Georgia were a bit off as well.

Tina McKenzie: It’s tough if you haven’t been to Asian countries as well, competing and…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The change of diet affects some people.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah. I remember when we went to Korea and…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that?

Tina McKenzie: Korea would have been qualifiers in two thousand and… just before China, so that would have been…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png 2007 or 2008?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, 2007. Maybe late, no, it might have been early 2007. It was a qualifier for — Beijing, I think actually. Anyway, we went and played China, China and Japan. And it was a really tough tournament on some of our really new girls. They really struggled with the food. They struggled with the environment that we were in. It wasn’t a clean as what they normally exist in. A lot of them were very grumpy. (laughs) It’s really hard when you’re so used to being in such a routine, and you know what you want to eat, and you’re into a tournament and all of a sudden your stomach or your body can’t take the food and you’re just living off rice, and that’s not great for anyone.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah, well, the men are going to Seoul for their world championship, while the women go to Toronto. And of course the next Paralympics is in Rio.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I know.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It will be a very different climate and very different food.

Tina McKenzie: We all learn to adjust. I have over the years. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last thirteen years. Twelve years maybe. So you learn to actually take food with you. And you learn to adjust, knowing what environment you’re going in to, and what works for you. I have often carried around cans of red kidney beans. I know that I can put that in lettuce or in salad and get through with a bit of protein. And you know Sarah Stewart does a terrific job being a vegan, and managing the different areas and countries that we’ve been in to. Germany, for example, is highly dependent on the meat side of food, and I’m pretty sure I remember in Germany I lived on pasta and spaghetti. Tomato sauce. Yeah, that was it. (laughs) That’s alright. You just learn. I think its really hard for the new girls that come in to the team. It’s so overwhelming at the best of times anyway, and their nerves are really quite wracked I’d say, and that different travel environment is really hard. So I think the more experience they can get in traveling and playing internationally, the better off they’ll be for Rio.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png One of the things that struck me about the Australian team — I hadn’t seen the Gliders before London. It was an amazing experience seeing you guys come out on the court for the first time at the Marshmallow…

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It was probably all old hat to you guys. You’d been practicing for months. Certainly since Sydney in July.

Tina McKenzie: It was pretty amazing, yeah. I think it doesn’t really matter how many Paralympics you actually do, being able to come out on that court, wherever it is, it’s never dull. It’s always an amazing experience, and you feel quite honored, and really proud to be there and it still gives you a tingle in your stomach. It’s not like “oh, off I go. Bored of this.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Especially that last night there at the North Greenwich Arena. There were thirteen thousand people there. They opened up some extra parts of the stadium. I could not even see the top rows. They were in darkness.

Tina McKenzie: It’s an amazing sport to come and watch, and its an amazing sport to play. It’s a good spectator sport I think. People should come and see especially the girls playing. It’s quite tough. And I was talking to someone yesterday and it was like “Oh I don’t know how you play that! You know, it’s so rough. You must get so hurt.” It’s great! Excellent, you know? Brilliant game that teaches you lots of strategies. And you can actually take all those strategies off the court and into your life as well. So it teaches you a lot of discipline, a lot of structure and… it’s a big thing. It’s not just about being on the court and throwing a ball around.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When I saw you last you were in Sydney and you said you were moving down to Melbourne. Why was that?

Tina McKenzie: To move to Melbourne? My mum’s down here. And I lived here for sixteen years or something.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know you lived here for a long time, but you moved up to Sydney. Did your teacher’s degree up there.

Tina McKenzie: I moved to Sydney to go to uni, and Macquarie University were amazing in the support that they actually gave me. Being able to study and play basketball internationally, the scholarship really helped me out. And you know, it wasn’t just about the scholarship. It was.. Deidre Anderson was incredible. She’s actually from Melbourne as well, but her support emotionally and “How are you doing?” when she’d run into you and was always very good at reading people… where they’re at. She totally understands at the levels of playing at national level and international level and so it wasn’t just about Macquarie supporting me financially, it was about them supporting me the whole way through. And that was how I got through my degree, and was able to play at that level for such a long time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you like teaching?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I do. I’m still waiting on my transfer at the moment from New South Wales to Victoria, but teaching’s good. It’s really nice to be able to spend some time with kids and I think its really important for kids to be actually around people with disabilities to actually normalize us a little bit and not be so profound about meeting someone that looks a little bit different. And if I can do that at a young age in primary school and let them see that life’s pretty normal for me, then I think that’s a really important lesson.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You retired just after the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: I did. Yeah. Actually, it took me quite a long time to decide to do that. I actually traveled after London. So I backpacked around… I went to the USA and then to Europe. And I spent a lot of time traveling and seeing amazing new things, and spending time by myself, and reflecting on… So yes, I got to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on my career and where I wanted to go.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Your basketball career or your teaching career?

Tina McKenzie: All the above. Yeah. Everything realistically. And I think it was a really important time for me to sort of decide sort of where I wanted to go in myself. I’d spent sixteen years with the Gliders. So that’s a long time to be around the Gliders apparently.

Tina McKenzie (No. 8, at right) listens to the Australian national anthem prior to the match against the United States at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
Image: Laura Hale.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When did you join them for the first time?

Tina McKenzie: I think it was ’89? No, no, no, sorry, no, no, no, ’98. We’ll say 1998. Yeah, 1998 was my first tournament, against USA. So we played USA up in New South Wales in the Energy Australia tour. So we traveled the coast. Played up at Terrigal. It was a pretty amazing experience, being my first time playing for Australia and it was just a friendly competition so… Long time ago. And that was leading into 2000, into the big Sydney Olympics. That was the beginning of an amazing journey realistically. But going back to why I retired, or thinking about retiring, I think when I came home I decided to spend a little bit more time with mum. Cause we’d actually lost my dad. He passed away two years ago. He got really sick after I came back from World Cup, in 2011, late 2010, he was really unwell, so I spent a lot of time down here. I actually had a couple of months off from the Gliders because I needed to deal with the family. And I think that it was really good to be able to get back and get on the team and… I love playing basketball but after being away, and I’ve done three Paralympics, I’ve been up for four campaigns, I think its time now to actually take a step backwards and… Well not backwards… take a step out of it and spend quality time with mum and quality time with people that have supported me throughout the years of me not being around home but floating back in and floating out again and its a really… it’s a nice time for me to be able to also take on my teaching career and trying to teach and train and work full time is really hard work and I think its also time for quite a few of the new girls to actually step up and we’ve got quite a few… You’ve got Caitlin, and you’ve got Katie and you’ve got Shelley and Georgia. There’s quite a few nice girls coming through that will fit really well into the team and it’s a great opportunity for me to go. It’s my time now. See where they go with that, and retire from the Gliders. It was a hard decision. Not an easy decision to retire. I definitely miss it. But I think now I’d rather focus on maybe helping out at the foundation level of starting recruitment and building up a recruiting side in Melbourne and getting new girls to come along and play basketball. People with… doesn’t even have to be girls but just trying to re-feed our foundation level of basketball, and if I can do that now I think that’s still giving towards the Gliders and Rollers eventually. That would be really nice. Just about re-focusing. I don’t want to completely leave basketball. I’d still like to be part of it. Looking to the development side of things and maybe have a little bit more input in that area would be really nice though. Give back the skills I’ve been taught over the years and be a bit of an educator in that area I think would be nice. It’s really hard when you’re at that international level to… you’re so time poor that it’s really hard to be able to focus on all that recruitment and be able to give out skill days when you’re actually trying to focus on improving yourself. So now I’ve got that time that I could actually do that. Be a little bit more involved in mentoring maybe, something like that. Yeah, that’s what I’d like to do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That would be good.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah! That would be great, actually. So I’ve just been put on the board of Disability Sport and Recreation, which is the old Wheelchair Sports Victoria. So that’s been a nice beginning move. Seeing where all the sports are at, and what we’re actually facilitating in Victoria, considering I’ve been away from Victoria for so long. It’s nice to know where they’re all at.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where are they all at?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, dunno. They’re not very far at all. Victoria… I think Victoria is really struggling in the basketball world. Yeah, I think there’s a bit of a struggle. Back in the day… back in those old times, where Victoria would be running local comps. We’d have an A grade and a B grade on a Thursday night, and we’d have twelve teams in A grade and B grade playing wheelchair basketball. That’s a huge amount of people playing and when you started in B grade you’d be hoping that you came around and someone from A grade would ask you to come and play. So it was a really nice way to build your basketball skills up and get to know that community. And I think its really important to have a community, people that you actually feel comfortable and safe around. I don’t want to say it’s a community of disabled people. It’s actually…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s not really because…

Tina McKenzie: Well, it’s not. The community’s massive. It’s not just someone being in a chair. You’ve got your referees, you’ve got people that are coming along to support you. And it’s a beautiful community. I always remember Liesl calling it a family, and it’s like a family so… and it’s not just Australia-based. It’s international. It’s quite incredible. It’s really lovely. But it’s about providing that community for new players to come through. And you know, not every player that comes through to play basketball wants to be a Paralympian. So its about actually providing sport, opportunities for people to be physically active. And if they do want to compete for Australia and they’re good enough, well then we support that. But I think it’s really hard in the female side of things. There’s not as many females with a disability.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah, they kept on pointing that out…

Tina McKenzie: It’s really hard, but I think one of the other things is that we also need to be able to get the sport out there into the general community. And it’s not just about having a disability, it’s about coming along and playing with your mate that might be classifiable or an ex-basketball player. Like I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she’s six foot two…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Sounds like a basketball player already.

Tina McKenzie: She’s been a basketball player, an AB basketball player for years. Grew up playing over in Adelaide, and her knee is so bad that she can’t run anymore, and she can’t cycle, but yet wants to be physically active, and I’m like “Oooh, you can come along and play wheelchair basketball” and she’s like “I didn’t even think that I could do that!” So it’s about promoting. It not that you actually have to be full time in the chair, or being someone with an amputation or other congenitals like a spinal disability, it’s wear and tear on people’s bodies and such.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Something I noticed in the crowd in London. People seemed to think that they were in the chair all the time and were surprised when most of the Rollers got up out of their chairs at the end of the game.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Disability is a very complicated thing.

Tina McKenzie: It is, yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I was surprised myself at people who were always in a chair, but yet can wiggle their toes.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s the preconceived thing, like if you see someone in a chair, a lot of people just think that nothing works, but in hindsight there are so many varying levels of disability. Some people don’t need to be in a chair all the time, sometimes they need to be in it occasionally. Yeah, it’s kind of a hard thing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Also talking to the classifiers and they mentioned the people playing [wheelchair] basketball who have no disability at all but are important to the different teams, that carry their bags and stuff.

Tina McKenzie: So important, yeah. It’s the support network and I think that when we started developing Women’s National League to start in 2000, one of the models that we took that off was the Canadian Women’s National League. They run an amazing national league with huge amounts of able bodied women coming in and playing it, and they travel all over Canada [playing] against each other and they do have a round robin in certain areas like our Women’s National League as well but it’s so popular over there that it’s hard to get on the team. They have a certain amount of women with disabilities and then other able bodied women that just want to come along and play because they see it as a really great sport. And that’s how we tried to model our Women’s National League off. It’s about getting many women just to play sport, realistically.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Getting women to play sport, whether disabled or not, is another story. And there seems to be a reluctance amongst women to participate in sports, particularly sports that they regard as being men’s sports.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, a masculine sport.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They would much rather play a sport that is a women’s sport.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s really hard. I think it’s about just encouraging people, communicating, having a really nice welcoming, come and try day. We run a… like Sarah [Stewart] actually this yeah will be running the women’s festival of sport, which is on the 30th of January. And that’s an amazing tournament. That actually started from club championship days, where we used to run club championships. And then the club championships then used to feed in to our Women’s National League. Club championships used to about getting as many women to come along and play whether they’re AB or have a disability. It’s just about participation. It’ll be a really fun weekend. And it’s a pretty easy weekend for some of us.

Tina McKenzie (No. 8, at right) on the court in the quarter final against Mexico
Image: Laura Hale.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where is it?

Tina McKenzie: Next year, in 2014, it’ll be January the 30th at Narrabeen. We hold it every year. And last year we got the goalball girls to come along and play. So we had half of the goalball girls come and play for the weekend and they had an absolute brilliant time. Finding young girls that are walking down the street that just want to come and play sport. Or they have a friend at high school that has a disability. And it’s just about having a nice weekend, meeting other people that have disabilities or not have disabilities and just playing together. It’s a brilliant weekend. And every year we always have new faces come along and we hope that those new faces stay around and enjoy the weekend. Because it’s no so highly competitive, it’s just about just playing. Like last year I brought three or four friends of mine, flew up from Melbourne, ABs, just to come along and play. It was really nice that I had the opportunity to play a game of basketball with the friends that I hang out with. Which was really nice. So the sport’s not just Paralympics.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How does Victoria compare with New South Wales?

Tina McKenzie: Oh, that’s a thing to ask! (laughs) Look I think both states go in highs and lows, in different things. I think all the policies that have been changing in who’s supporting who and… like, Wheelchair Sports New South Wales do a good job at supporting the basketball community. Of course, there’s always a willingness for more money to come in but they run a fairly good support and so does the New South Wales Institute of Sport. It’s definitely gotten better since I first started up there. And then, it’s really hard to compare because both states do things very differently. Yeah, really differently and I always remember being in Victoria… I dunno when that was… in early 2000. New South Wales had an amazing program. It seemed so much more supportive than what we had down here in Victoria. But then even going to New South Wales and seeing the program that they have up there, it wasn’t as brilliant as… the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, cause there there good things and there were weren’t so great things about the both programs in Victoria and in New South Wales so… The VIS [Victorian Institute of Sport] do some great support with some of the athletes down here, and NSWIS [New South Wales Instituted of Sport] are building and improving and I know their program’s changed quite a lot now with Tom [Kyle] and Ben [Osborne] being involved with NSWIS so I can’t really give feedback on how that program’s running but in short I know that when NSWIS employed Ben Osborne to come along and actually coach us as a basketball individual and as in group sessions it was the best thing that they ever did. Like, it was so good to be able to have one coach to actually go and go we do an individual session or when are you running group sessions and it just helped me. It helped you train. It was just a really… it was beneficial. Whereas Victoria don’t have that at the moment. So both states struggle some days. I mean, back in 2000 Victoria had six or seven Gliders players, and then New South Wales had as many, and then it kind of does a big swap. It depends on what the state infrastructure is, what the support network is, and how local comps are running, how the national league’s running, and it’s about numbers. It’s all about numbers.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png At the moment you’ll notice a large contingent of Gliders from Western Australia.

Tina McKenzie: Yes, yes, I have seen that, yeah. And that’s good because its… what happens is, someone comes along in either state, or wherever it may be, and they’re hugely passionate about building and improving that side of things and they have the time to give to it, and that’s what’s happened in WA [Western Australia]. Which has been great. Ben Ettridge has been amazing, and so has John. And then in New South Wales you have Gerry driving that years ago. Gerry has always been a hugely passionate man about improving numbers, about participation, and individuals’ improvement, you know? So he’s been quite a passionate man about making sure people are improving individually. And you know, Gerry Hewson’s been quite a driver of wheelchair basketball in New South Wales. He’s been an important factor, I think.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The news recently has been Basketball Australia taking over the running of things. The Gliders now have a full time coach.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, which is fantastic! That’s exciting. It’s a good professional move, you know? It’s nice to actually know that that’s what’s happening and I think that only will lead to improvement of all the girls, and the Gliders may go from one level up to the next level which is fantastic so… and Tom sounds like a great man so I really hope that he enjoys himself.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’m sure he is.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I’ve done some work with Tom. He’s a good guy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you do some work with him?

Tina McKenzie: Ah, well, no, I just went up to Brisbane a couple of times and did some development days. Played in one of their Australia Day tournaments with some of the developing girls that they have. We did a day camp leading into that. Went and did a bit of mentoring I guess. And it was nice to do that with Tom. That was a long time before Tom… I guess Tom had just started on the men’s team back them. He was very passionate about improving everyone, which he still is.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Watching the Gliders and the Rollers… with the Rollers, they can do it. With the Gliders… much more drama from the Gliders in London. For a time we didn’t even know if they were going to make the finals. Lost that game against Canada.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, that wasn’t a great game. No. It was pretty scary. But, you know, we always fight back. In true Gliders style. Seems to be… we don’t like to take the easy road, we like to take the hard road, sometimes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Apparently.

Tina McKenzie: It’s been a well-known thing. I don’t know why it is but it just seems to happen that way.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You said you played over 100 [international] games. By our count there was 176 before you went to London, plus two games there makes 178 international caps. Which is more than some teams that you played against put together.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I thought I’d be up to nearly 200. Look, I think it’s an amazing thing to have that many games under your belt and the experience that’s gained me throughout the years, and you’ve got to be proud about it. Proud that I stayed in there and competed with one of the best teams in the world. I always believed that the Gliders can be the best in the world but…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You need to prove it.

Tina McKenzie: Need to get there. Just a bit extra.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Before every game in London there was an announcement that at the World Championships and the Paralympics “they have never won”.

Tina McKenzie: No, no. I remember 2000 in Sydney, watching the girls play against Canada in 2000. Terrible game. Yet they were a brilliant team in 2000 as well. I think the Gliders have always had a great team. Just unfortunately, that last final game. We haven’t been able to get over that line yet.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You were in the final game in 2004.

Tina McKenzie: Yep, never forget that. It was an amazing game.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What was it like?

Tina McKenzie: I think we played our gold medal game against the USA the first game up. We knew that we had to beat USA that day, that morning. It was 8am in the morning, maybe 8:30 in the morning and it was one of the earliest games that we played and we’d been preparing for this game knowing that we had to beat USA to make sure that our crossovers would be okay, and knew that we’d sit in a really good position against the rest of the teams that we would most likely play. And I think that being my first ever Paralympic Games it was unforgettable. I think I’ll never, not forget it. The anticipation, adrenalin and excitement. And also being a little bit scared sometimes. It was really an amazing game. We did play really, really well. We beat America by maybe one point I think that day. So we played a tough, tough game. Then we went into the gold medal game… I just don’t think we had much left in our energy fuel. I think it was sort of… we knew that we had to get there but we just didn’t have enough to get over the line, and that was really unfortunate. And it was really sad. It was sad that we knew that we could actually beat America, but at the end of the day the best team wins.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The best team on the court on the day.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely. And that can change any day. It depends where your team’s at. What the ethos is like. and so it’s… Yeah, I don’t think you can actually say that every team’s gonna be on top every day, and it’s not always going to be that way. I’m hoping the Gliders will put it all together and be able to take that way through and get that little gold medal. That would be really nice. Love to see that happen.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’d like to see that happen. I’d really like to see them win. In Toronto, apparently, because the Canadian men are not in the thing, the Canadians are going to be focusing on their women’s team. They apparently didn’t take their best team and their men were knocked out by Columbia or Mexico or something like that.

Tina McKenzie: Wow.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And in the women’s competition there’s teams like Peru. But I remember in London that Gliders were wrong-footed by Brazil, a team that they had never faced before. Nearly lost that game.

Tina McKenzie: (laughs) Oh yes. Brazil were an unknown factor to us. So they were quite unknown. We’d done a bit of scouting but if you’ve never played someone before you get into an unknown situation. We knew that they’d be quite similar players to Mexico but you know what? Brazil had a great game. They had a brilliant game. We didn’t have a very good game at all. And it’s really hard going into a game that you know that you need to win unbeknown to what all these players can do. You can scout them as much as you want but it’s actually about being on court and playing them. That makes a huge difference. I think one of the things here in Australia is that we play each other so often. We play against each other so often in the Women’s National League. We know exactly what… I know that Shelley Chaplin is going to want to go right and close it up and Cobi Crispin is going to dive underneath the key and do a spin and get the ball. So you’ve actually… you know what these players want to do. I know that Kylie Gauci likes to double screen somewhere, and she’ll put it in, and its great to have that knowledge of what your players really like to do when you’re playing with them but going into a team like Brazil we knew a couple of the players, what they like to do but we had no idea what their speed was like or what their one-pointers were going to do. Who knows? So it was a bit of an unknown.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They’ll definitely be an interesting side when it comes to Rio.

Tina McKenzie: I think they’ll be quite good. And that happened with China. I’ll always remember seeing China when we were in Korea for the first time and going “Wow, these girls can hardly move a chair” but some of them could shoot, and they went from being very fresh players to going into China as quite a substantial team, and then yet again step it up again in London. And they’re a good team. I think its really important as not to underestimate any team at a Paralympics or at a World Cup. I mean, Netherlands have done that to us over and over again.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They’re a tough team too.

Tina McKenzie: They’re a really tough team and they’re really unpredictable sometimes. Sometimes when they’re on, they’re on. They’re tough. They’re really tough. And they’ve got a little bit of hunger in them now. Like, they’re really hungry to be the top team. And you can see that. And I remember seeing that in Germany, in Beijing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Germans lost to the Americans in the final in Beijing.

Tina McKenzie: Yes. Yeah, they did.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And between 2008 and 2012 all they talked about was the US, and a rematch against the US. But of course when it came to London, they didn’t face the US at all, because you guys knocked the US out of the competition.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, we did. It was great. A great game that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You won by a point.

Tina McKenzie: Fantastic. Oh my God I came. Still gives me heart palpitations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It went down to a final shot. There was a chance that the Americans would win the thing with a shot after the siren. Well, a buzzer-beater.

Tina McKenzie: Tough game. Tough game. That’s why you go to the Paralympics. You have those tough, nail-biting games. You hope that at the end of the day that… Well, you always go in as a player knowing that you’ve done whatever you can do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thankyou very much for this.

Tina McKenzie: That’s alright. No problems at all!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 30, 2013

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Caitlin de Wit

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Caitlin de Wit

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok — Wikinews interviewed Caitlin de Wit, of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. The Gliders are in Bangkok, Thailand, for the Asia–Oceania Zone Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which are being held at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center. Wikinews caught up with her on Tuesday, before the Gliders’ match against China.

Georgia Inglis at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok, during the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships
Image: Hawkeye7.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Where were you born?

Caitlin de Wit: In Cape Town in South Africa.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When did you come to Australia?

Caitlin de Wit: When I was six.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And then you moved to whereabouts?

Caitlin de Wit: And I grew up on the Central Coast.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A I believe you had a horse riding accident?

Caitlin de Wit: I had a horse riding accident in Wagga.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What sort of horse riding were you doing?

Caitlin de Wit: I was just riding with friends. We were just like out on a ride.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you fell off.

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you were at uni[versity] at the time?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, I was at uni in Wagga and that’s where I had my accident. And I went obviously to hospital for a little while and rehab and then I moved back to Wagga to finish my degree.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What was the degree in?

Caitlin de Wit: Equine studies. Horses.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you played sport before then?

Caitlin de Wit: I ran a little bit, and I rode horses. They were my sports. And then in my first year of uni I started soccer. That was my first team sport that I played.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So what made you take up basketball?

Caitlin de Wit: I suppose when I lefty hospital I was a bit bored. I wanted something to do. Keep me fit and occupied. So.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So which team did you join?

Caitlin de Wit: I just joined the local Wagga team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png There’s a local Wagga team?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, there was. I don’t know if its still there. And then I joined… and then Sarah Stewart saw me at a juniors’ camp. And I joined what was then the Hills Hornets in the women’s league.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you played with the Hills Hornets.

Caitlin de Wit: mmm hmm

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And when was that?

Caitlin de Wit: My first season was 2007.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did they win the championships that year?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They won for a series of years straight…

Caitlin de Wit: They won straight up until 2011. We had one win as the Flames.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you joined the junior Australian women’s team?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, the under 25s.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And where did you go with them?

Caitlin de Wit: We went to Canada for the under 25 World Championships.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that?

Caitlin de Wit: 2011.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you’re still playing with the Flames in Sydney. And you played for the Gliders at the Osaka Cup?

Caitlin de Wit: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And that was in January this year?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah. February maybe? January-February?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And that was your first trip overseas with the senior side

Caitlin de Wit: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And now this is therefore your second trip with the Gliders?

Caitlin de Wit: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Been overseas much before then?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah. Been overseas a little bit. Not with basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Being from South Africa.

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah. My family traveled a little bit as a kid, so… yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you played anywhere overseas with any other teams?

Caitlin de Wit: No.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So how are you enjoying it here in Bangkok?

Caitlin de Wit: Good. It’s been a really great experience.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I keep worrying about whether they are going to blockade the airport when we need to get out of here.

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, it should be fine.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay, so enjoy it!

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 28, 2013

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Georgia Inglis

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Georgia Inglis

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok — Wikinews interviewed Georgia Inglis, of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. The Gliders are in Bangkok, Thailand, for the Asia-Oceania Zone Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which are being held at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center.

They are hoping to qualify for the World Championships, which are being held in Toronto, Canada, in June next year. Inglis is one of two new players in the team. Wikinews caught up with her before the Gliders’ match against China.

Georgia Inglis at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok, during the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships
Image: Hawkeye7.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Where were you born?

Georgia Inglis: In Perth.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Perth!

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png According to the [draft Wikipedia] article, it says that you had an accident involving a ride-on lawn mower?

Georgia Inglis: Yep. That’s true.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Really? What happened?

Georgia Inglis: The boy just didn’t see me, so he ran over.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And how old were you?

Georgia Inglis: I was ten.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It says also that you were a tennis player and a swimmer.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which sports did you get involved in? You were playing sports before your accident?

Georgia Inglis: I did tennis before my accident, and I did tennis after my accident and I did swimming after my accident.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And it says that you were a really good tennis player and swimmer.

Georgia Inglis: Um, no, not that good. I was a little bit competitive, but that’s about it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So what made you take up basketball?

Georgia Inglis: I just enjoyed the team sport more. Yes, enjoyed it a lot more.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So when did you start playing?

Georgia Inglis: Three or four years ago, I think it was.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A you joined the local team there?

Georgia Inglis: The juniors, yeah. Then I trained with the Western Stars. And I got on the team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that, about 2010 or 2011?

Georgia Inglis: The first Kevin King cup. Whenever that was.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’ll find out

Georgia Inglis: It was in Sydney.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve been playing with them for three or four years.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you were selected for the Osaka Cup earlier this year.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which was your first overseas trip with the Gliders.

Georgia Inglis: With the Gliders, yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve been overseas with the under 23?

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where’d you go?

Georgia Inglis: Canada! Toronto.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay!

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I saw you play in the [WNWBL] games. You were particularly impressive in that final.

Georgia Inglis: The Grand Final?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Grand Final. You guys won.

Georgia Inglis: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You were really good.

Georgia Inglis: Oh, thank you.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And so you were at a couple of training camps, and then you were selected for this.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And so how has it been?

Georgia Inglis: Yeah, it’s been really good. I loved it. Really good. Really enjoyed it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And Bangkok? What do you think about it?

Georgia Inglis: It’s an interesting place.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Bit different?

Georgia Inglis: Very different to Australia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you been overseas only to Toronto, or have you been elsewhere?

Georgia Inglis: No, I went to Italy and trained over there for three months.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that?

Georgia Inglis: Last year. And I played for… well I didn’t really play, but I trained with a team in Sardinia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you were part of the team?

Georgia Inglis: Yeah, but I didn’t really play, just trained.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Some other players have…

Georgia Inglis: Yeah, Luke Pople and Alan Deans. We all went over there.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Anything else you’d like to say?

Georgia Inglis: Can’t really think of anything.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay! No worries! Thank you!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 16, 2013

Wikinews interviews academic Simon Ličen about attitudes towards US Paralympics

Wikinews interviews academic Simon Ličen about attitudes towards US Paralympics

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

A Russian stamp for Paralympic Games in Sochi in 2014
Image: Почта России/Russian Post.

On Thursday, with 110 days until the start of the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Wikinews interviewed Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, Sport Studies and Educational/Counseling Psychology at Washington State University Simon Ličen about attitudes in United States towards the Paralympics.

Licen has recently joined the Sport Management Program at Washington State University to develop its sport media and communication research and teaching contents. Originally from Slovenia, he served as the Director of Media and Communications of a WTA Tour event and was a member of the UNESCO Slovenian National Commission. He was also the Team Manager of the Slovenian wheelchair basketball national team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think the Paralympic movement has so little visibility in the US compared to other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and even Canada?

Simon Ličen: Sports in the United States largely reaffirm existing relations of power in society. It emphasizes consumerism, the belief that success always goes to people who merit it due to their abilities, dedication and qualifications, and reinforces, rather than changes, existing ideas related to gender, ethnicity and nationality. Paralympic sport brings attention to athletes who are typically overlooked in American society because the majority of the population does not want to identify with people who are disabled. Although disability is not contagious, interest in disabled sports might put into question the masculinity of the males following it. Disabled athletes also challenge existing relations of power by displaying dedication, hard work and perseverance in different contexts than those most sports fans are accustomed to.
Other countries, including the ones you mention, have stronger social orientations in all aspects of society. Even though legislative support may be less strong than the one provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, many social institutions including the media are more receptive to this form of diversity.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What do you think the impact will be for the Paralympic movement will be with the Games being televised live in the United States for first time?

Simon Ličen: The impact depends on a number of aspects. One of them is the channels that NBC as the broadcasting rights owner for the United States will use to air the Paralympic Games on. Will they be shown nationally or regionally, on NBC or on any of the company’s multiple cable networks? A second aspect is the parts or hours of the day the Paralympics will be shown. Remember that there is a nine-hour difference between Sochi and New York, and a 12-hour difference between Sochi and the US West Coast. So daytime events will be shown live in the United States in the middle of the night, and evening prime-time events will be shown — indeed live — in the morning U.S. time. So showing the Paralympics live on United States television might turn out to be less glamorous than it appears. A third important factor is the way the event will be mediated: will NBC have its best sports broadcasters following the event after having worked the Winter Olympics? Will they treat and announce the competitions as they do all others — for better and worse? Will they take it as an opportunity to educate viewers about disability and diversity while showing superb athletic performances without engaging in a discourse of pity? All in all, I think this is a terrific opportunity to improve sports coverage in a multitude of aspects; but we will have to wait until after the event to assess to what extent the broadcasters will meet these expectations.

USA skier Ralph Green last year at the 2012 IPC NorAm Cup.
Image: Bidgee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role should the media be playing in promoting the Paralympic Games? Why does the US media provide so little coverage of the Paralympics compared to other sports?

Simon Ličen: I don’t think the media should be promoting any sports event. I think the role of the media is to inform about the event and to cover it fairly. It is not just the Paralympic Games, or disable sports in general that yield very little media coverage; a recent study has shown that women’s sports only account for 1.3%–1.6% of televised news media. The situation improves considerably during the Olympic Games and prime-time Olympic coverage comes close to equal coverage of both men’s and women’s sport. Outside of that, however, U.S. media coverage is largely limited to the men’s four major leagues, college football and college basketball. Again, the media decide which sports to cover based on their perceived entertainment value and its potential of generating sponsor revenues. The Paralympic Games are complex to understand and its participants hard to identify with because there are less instances of dominating performances and long-standing rivalries, which are concepts that are understandable even to the casual fan.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role does the fact that the Paralympics are about people with disability competing at sport play in the American public’s reception of the Paralympics?

Simon Ličen: I would speculate that the American public is largely indifferent to the event as it is currently represented in the media. The majority of people are oblivious of the Paralympic Games. They might greet an American medal winner as this would reaffirm the success, supremacy and tenacity of an American representative in a global field. In more general terms, however, the American public chooses to largely overlook disabled sports as the average able-bodied person likely does not want to be represented by, and thus identify with, a disabled person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Is the fact the US Olympic Committee is the national Paralympic Committee a hinderance or help in the development of the Paralympic movement in the US?

Simon Ličen: In general terms, this is both an opportunity and a risk: it can activate its sizable financial, promotional and media influence to bring attention to the Paralympic movement, but at the same time might choose to push disabled sports to the side in order to accommodate influential sponsors. I am not familiar with the specific work done by the US Olympic Committee in terms of supporting, popularizing and expanding the Paralympic movement so I cannot speculate which way the actual work done by the USOC sways.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What conditions need to exist in the US for Paralympic athletes to get sponsorship similar to their Olympic counterparts?

Simon Ličen: Sport sponsorships are indeed strongly influenced by the media prominence of competing individuals. Individual disabled athletes have already been able to secure profitable sponsorship and endorsement contracts; perhaps the most notable example is Oscar Pistorius who was in this sense a true groundbreaker before falling off the pedestal due to his pending trial. This is even more true when one considers that not all Olympic athletes are able to secure profitable or even exaggerated contacts: an Olympic archery champion is less appealing than an Olympic champion javelin thrower, a female javelin thrower is less appealing than a male sprinter, and a Jamaican champion sprinter is less appealing than an American elite basketball player. Sporadic media appearances, such as those during the Paralympic fortnight, will hardly suffice to land disabled athletes major contracts; an athlete has to be in the constant media and popular spotlights to secure lucrative contracts. Until Paralympic athletes […] [are] able to achieve that kind of media presence, high sponsorships are likely to elude them.

USA skier Andrew Earl Kurka at the 2012 IPC NorAm Cup
Image: Bidgee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Many countries provide federal money to support their Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Should the US consider this as a way of increasing visibility for the Paralympics, supporting increased opportunities for people with disabilities and increasing the US Paralympic medal count?

Simon Ličen: Focusing on the US medal count will successfully keep the Paralympic Games away from mainstream attention! A focus on the medal count as a means to establish supremacy is typical for American professional sports, and the Paralympics will never be able to beat the Olympic Games or the major leagues at their game. This is why the Paralympic Games should involve a different narrative.
Countries typically allocate governmental support to the more vulnerable groups in society because those who are strong can protect their interests through their vast financial and social means. In this sense, the United States should support participation in the Paralympic Games to promote adaptive sports in general and thus increase sports participation among people with disabilities. People with disabilities are among those who most benefit from participating in sports and physical activity due to their health and social advantage; however, they also have much fewer opportunities for sport participation and often require expensive adapted sports equipment. Public funds should contribute to their sport activity in general, and federal funding of Paralympic athletes could certainly provide an excellent example for local communities. Unfortunately, I fear that even the most progressive congresswomen and congressmen will be [reluctant] to increase that funding given the current federal budgetary situation.



Related news

Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.

External links

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 9, 2013

US Congresswoman Jackie Speier comments about Obamacare, Paralympics

US Congresswoman Jackie Speier comments about Obamacare, Paralympics

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Saturday, November 9, 2013

File photo of Jackie Speier (D-CA), Member of the United States House of Representatives
Image: United States Congress.

With the 2014 Winter Paralympics set for March, Wikinews sought comment from U.S. Representative Jackie Speier, who serves California’s 14th congressional district about the event and how current U.S. policies impact people with disabilities. Elected to the U.S. House in 2008, she serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee. For the first time ever, the Paralympics will be broadcast live in the U.S. on network television.


Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: Will “ObamaCare” have a positive or negative impact on the lives of people with disabilities?

Jackie Speier: By-and-large the Affordable Care Act will have a significant and lasting beneficial impact on persons with disabilities […] Most importantly, pre-existing conditions will no longer prevent persons with disabilities from obtaining health insurance. Lifetime limits on medical expenses will be removed and preventive services will be free. All of these provisions of the law create health insurance that is highly supportive of good health outcomes for everyone, but in particular for those who have a disability.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Are there any Paralympic athletes or elite athletes with disabilities from your district that people should know more about?

Jackie Speier: There are currently two Paralympic athletes who train or live in my district that people will definitely hear more about in the coming years. One is a young woman named Allie Hyatt who trains in Judo with Willy Cahill, [whom] I have also trained with. Allie, who is visually impaired and just 15, has already won numerous awards and will participate in the Youth Olympic Games next year. She is sure to be a force in the Judo world for many, many years. Hyatt lives in San Francisco and Cahill is the founder and CEO of the Blind Judo Foundation.

Another great athlete is Mohamend Lahna who is training for the Rio Olympics in 2016 for the paratriathlon,” Speier continued. “He is from Morocco originally but lives now in San Mateo and trains daily at the College of San Mateo. He runs marathons with a prosthetic leg and has his sights set on winning several medals atworld and Olympic events in the future. Lahna has proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a birth defect that affects the hip and pelvis. He is married and has a 1-year-old child.

Wikinews also sought comment from other members of Congress, including John K. Delaney, Mike Honda, Kyrsten Sinema, Eric Swalwell, Raúl M. Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick but at publication time, had received no response.



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 6, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish shooter Paulo Fontán

Wikinews interviews Spanish shooter Paulo Fontán

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This year’s Spanish IPC European Shooting Championship team
Image: Comité Paralímpico Español.

This week, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic sport shooter Paulo Fontán Torreiro. Late last month, Galician Fontán competed at the Alicante hosted 2013 IPC European Shooting Championship, where he finished twenty-third in the R4 10-meter air rifle standing event, and fortieth in the R5 10-meter air rifle prone event.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: So you competed at the IPC European Shooting Championships last month? How did you do? Are you happy with the result?((es))

Paulo Fontán Torreiro: Yes, I competed in the European Championship in Alicante. It was my first important event and I felt very nervous, I wanted to perform well. Despite improving my previous scores and achieving the minimum qualifying score for next year’s World Championship, I think I could have done better.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What do you think you need to improve to possibly compete at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and get a medal?((es))

Paulo Fontán: Basically I would need to be able to train more constantly, obtain financial resources to participate in international events, and have a bit of luck on the day of the competition.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What are the biggest challenges you face on the road to the Rio Games? Money? Good competition? The support network to travel and compete at the highest level? Disability access at training venues?((es))

Paulo Fontán: All that are included in the questions. In order to train effectively, you need adequate facilities, and that’s not the norm here. And to increase my level, I would need to compete against good rivals, basically at international events. For that, I require money and support, something that’s not too available.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why did you chose to compete in shooting? Why not compete in another sport?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I first tried other sports but finally focused on shooting because it fits my capabilities better, I’m not bad at it, and there is a very agreeable atmosphere at the competitions.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Who are your role models in shooting? Are there any shooters you particularly admire?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I must thank the support Juan Saavedra has given me since I started, and which he keeps giving me when I need it. I would like to mention Marciano Vázquez, the Spanish national team coach, too for his advice and trust in me when he called me up for the European Championship: I hope to return his trust with some future triumph.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What is the sport shooting culture like in Spain? Are people generally supportive when you tell them what sport you compete in?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I don’t think it’s very well known, and there could be some rejection because of the “pegar tiros” part, but that’s out of ignorance since it is mainly a mental sport, a sport requiring focus.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do you think the classification system in shooting is fair? Do you think it should be changed?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I’ve only been doing this for three years and haven’t had time to analyze it deeply so as to have an opinion about it.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Would you recommend the sport to other people with disabilities? What are reasons they should or should not take up the sport?((es))

Paulo Fontán: Yes, I would recommend it, and I would because it is a sport which can be practiced by a wide array of different disabilities, and for a long time. The biggest problem is the high initial investment, the lack of adequate facilities or the cost of travelling to competitions since there are not many places that allow people with disabilities to participate.((es))



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 15, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Deborah Font at Madrid–Barajas Airport on Friday
Image: Laura Hale.

Wikinews interviews Deborah Font
Audio: Laura Hale.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Last Friday at Madrid–Barajas Airport, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font, who is competing at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships that started this Monday in Montreal, Canada. Font has finished second in Monday’s Women’s 100 meter Freestyle S12 Heat 1, before going on to finish fourth in the Women’s 100 meter Freestyle S12 Final with a time of 1:03.20, less than a second behind bronze medalist German Naomi Maike Schnittger.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png I’m Laura Hale, I’m interviewing Deborah Font for Wikinews. Deborah is going to the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal. You’re already a Paralympic medallist, right? You’ve won several medals at the Paralympics before?

Deborah Font: I won two medals in Sydney [2000 Summer Paralympic Games], a gold medal and bronze medal; in Athens [2004 Summer Paralympic Games] two silver medals and one bronze medal; in Beijing [2008 Summer Paralympic Games] one bronze medal; and in London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games one bronze medal. Seven in Paralympic Games.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And in World Championships?

Deborah Font: I don’t know the exact number. Several.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What style do you swim?

Deborah Font: 400m freestyle.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay, and you’re going to do that in Montreal?

Deborah Font: In Montreal I’ll do 400m freestyle.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You think you’re going to get a medal?

Deborah Font: Yes, I’m fighting for a silver or bronze medal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What classification are you?

Deborah Font: S-12.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png S-12. So you have partial vision.

Deborah Font: Yeah, partial. [I can see a little.]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Since you cannot see perfectly, when you swim, can you see the people next to you?

Deborah Font: I can see those next to me, but not perfectly. I see those near to me, but not those far from me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think about other swimmers when you swim, or is it a disadvantage because you cannot see swimmers farther away?

Deborah Font: I swim my race, and don’t see the other swimmers.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They don’t matter when you swim? You swim against yourself, your best time?

Deborah Font: I swim against myself, I don’t see the other swimmers too much. My race, myself, I go inside myself.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you have any sponsors?

Deborah Font: No, no sponsors.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How difficult is it to swim in Spain for Paralympic swimmers when you don’t have sponsors?

Deborah Font: We have a Paralympic Committee. It’s difficult having sponsors in Spain. For the Olympics, athletes don’t have many sponsors, and for Paralympics it’s more difficult.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where are you from?

Deborah Font: Barcelona.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is swimming more competitive in Barcelona, in Madrid…? Where do you think the best swimmers come from?

Deborah Font: They come from all Spain, but train only in Madrid or Barcelona. Most in Barcelona. (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is there a reason most of the swimmers train in Barcelona?

Deborah Font: There are more possibilities for training in good swimming pools. The “Centros de Alto Rendimiento” [High Performance Centres] are in Madrid or Barcelona.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Coming in into the World Championships, did you do any special training, or change how you prepare?

Deborah Font: I did special training with a coach that only trains three or four of us at the High Performance Centre.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png This is a pretty dumb question, but I know a lot of people who look at blind swimmers and they go how can they swim at a straight line? Can you clarify how people with vision impairments can actually swim?

Deborah Font: Well, in swimming it’s all technique and a lot of learning, and learning to swim by the middle of the lane involves a lot of training, habit… Perhaps it’s more difficult for completely blind people, but it’s all a matter of training, trying again and again, get to know the swimming pool… But I think the most difficult thing is to learn to swim the technique without being able to see the others, and to know what you are moving, your arm here and not there… and learning to touch the wall, it’s harder to calculate, especially when competing, because you cannot see the distance you have to the wall.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you very much!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 11, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gómez

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gómez

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Wikinews interviews Marta Gomez.
Image: Laura Hale.

Marta Gomez at Madrid–Barajas Airport yesterday
Image: Laura Hale.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thursday at Madrid–Barajas Airport, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gomez, who is scheduled to compete at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships that start on Monday in Montreal, Canada.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png This is Laura Hale, I’m interviewing Marta Gómez, a Spanish Paralympic swimmer going to the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal. Are you going to Montreal and what strokes and distances are you competing in?

Marta Gomez : I’ll swim the 100 meter and 400 freestyle, and the 200 individual medley.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you won any medals at previous championships?((es))

Marta Gomez : In 2011, at the European Championships in Berlin, I won 3 bronze.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think you will win any medals in Montreal?((es))

Marta Gomez : I will try to fight for a medal in the 400 freestyle which is my main event, but, well, [if I swim well and feel well] my options are clearer, but until you swim nothing is clear.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve competed at previous Paralympic Games? In London?

Marta Gomez : Yes.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you didn’t win any medals?

Marta Gomez : No, I didn’t win any medals.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s the difference preparing for London to the World Championships?((es))

Marta Gomez : That I have improved many aspects of technical level [like?] performance, and especially the psychological aspect that after London I have faced other competitions and I feel much more confident about myself and I have become more competitive.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you a swimmer with a visual impediment? You cannot see…?((es))

Marta Gomez : S13.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When you swim, can you see the swimmers next to you?((es))

Marta Gomez : Depending on the race, you will always be able to — some races like in short distances like the 100 meter breaststroke and 100 meter freestyle as it is too short to lose sight of your rivals, but for example in 400 meters, yes, but I can only see from the sides. I cannot see all the swimmers. In the 800 meters, seeing swimmers in the race is impossible: I fail to see them.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When you swim, do you mostly think about your own race because you cannot fully see everyone? Do you race more against yourself because you can not see?((es))

Marta Gomez : Yes, of course. Not being able to see your rivals you have to concentrate on your event because you may have nobody to [watch?], you may have a slight reference but you have to swim against yourself.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose swimming as opposed to athletics or Goalball or some other sport?

Marta Gomez : I have only practiced swimming since childhood, I’ve always liked the water and it’s been the only sport I’ve practiced because I think it’s a sport where you feel a lot of freedom and don’t have any architectural barriers or anything.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Gracías.((en))

Marta Gomez : De nada.((en))



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 10, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer María Delgado

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer María Delgado

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikinews Sports
Sports icon.png
Other sports stories

Wikinews interviews María Delgado.
Image: Laura Hale.

María Delgado at Madrid–Barajas Airport Thursday.
Image: Laura Hale.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thursday at Madrid–Barajas Airport, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic swimmer María Delgado, who is scheduled to compete at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships that start on Monday in Montreal, Canada. Delgado will be 15 when she is to compete in Montreal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png I’m Laura Hale, I’m interviewing María Delgado who is a Spanish swimmer and who is going to the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, and you have received a lot of press attention from the Spanish press for being the next great Spanish Swimmer, […] [Do you expect to medal in this tournament or in Río?]((es)) [Note: The translated question here differed from the one originally asked in English.]

María Delgado: [laughs] I don’t know.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Spanish newspapers say she is the greatest swimmer, she is the next greatest Spanish Paralympic swimmer. Does she feel pressure from the media saying that she is a great swimmer to perform in a really high level? Does she feel pressure to win because the newspapers say it? Spanish newspapers say she is the next great Spanish Paralympic swimmer, that she is going to go to Río.

Translator: She has also been future with “plan AXA”, who bet on young swimmers Paralympics, and has been going at concentrations, which are younger with future have driven a little to fit in the world level of competition.((es))
María Delgado: I’m on a plan for young talent, that is preparing for Rio 2016 and has selected us, and now we go to the World Championship.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Because you are 15, how do you […] balance going to school and competing?

María Delgado: It’s a little difficult but with hard work and effort it’s doable. Study in the morning and train in the afternoon.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you doing school work while you are in Montreal? How does you balance school? How do you do the school at the 15 years old and swim? Because that seems really hard to do both at once.((es))

María Delgado: It is very difficult to combine and train while swimming, with swimming and studying.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Because you’re 15 do your parents go with you? Are your parents going to Montreal or are you all traveling solo by yourself?

María Delgado: With my coaches. My parents aren’t going.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Only with your coach?((es))

María Delgado: Yes.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is it scary to be on your own? Competing against all these 20 year olds and 30 year olds who’ve been to Paralympic games, or you just go “I’m 15, I can — el Mundo es mío [the world is mine]”?((es))

María Delgado: I’m not scared and I go eagerly.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you.((es))



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress