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A Basketball Tournament for All!

Posted: 27-Nov-2014 by All Abilities

On Sunday 23rd November, nine teams participated in a round-robin basketball tournament at the state of the art Bialik College Gringlas Sports Centre in Hawthorne. However this was no ordinary sporting competition, as all participating athletes had a disability. This inaugural event provided people of all abilities with a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment whereby they could flourish and develop their skills in basketball.

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The event was proudly organised by Maccabi Victoria All Abilities, Maccabi Basketball Club in conjunction with ECHO Australia and Basketball Victoria. It was hosted by the Maccabi Victoria All Abilities basketball team, the ‘Dolphins’ and was attended by Mckinnon Superstars, Oakleigh Warriors and several Sherbrooke teams from Dandenong Valley. The event required teams to enter into two streamed competitions and compete in approximately four matches, of twenty minutes in length.

Following the round-robin matches, the two winning teams from each division played off in a grand final event, which proved to be extremely exciting with a draw requiring extra time in division two. We congratulate all of the winning teams, the winners of the MVP and best team player awards as well as every participant for coming along, having fun and putting up a good fight! All of the team’s standards continue to improve with each game and we look forward to hosting these tournaments annually.

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The highlight of the day was undoubtedly our special guests from the Rollers, the Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketball team, including Michael D’Amelio, Tristan Knowles, Shawn Russell and Josh Malcom Allison. Their appearance was proudly organised by Australian Rollers and Menora Foods. A special thank-you to Sam Schachna and Jess Watson, for coordinating this exciting opportunity. The players were incredibly inspirational as they shared their personal stories of success and triumph, in an exclusive Q&A session with the Maccabi Dolphins team as well as at the public post-game presentation. Their stories really appealed to the All Abilities players, who now have a clear vision of what it may take for them to step up to an elite level and achieve their long-term goals of playing professionally. The Rollers players were very personable and enjoyed posing in photos, signing autographs and answering questions. Thank-you Michael, Tristan, Shawn and John for generously giving up your precious time to support this event. 

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We had many other festivities going on throughout the day including delicious food, including red velvet cupcakes and classic honey joys by Harjot from Purplelicious catering. We sold raffle tickets, which allowed participants to enter into the draw to win two signed basketballs by the Rollers team. Tamara Havloujian and Miriam Bush did a fantastic job with photography and capturing some key highlights from the day. Volunteers and support staff also helped to ensure the day ran smoothly and successful. A big thank-you to Daniel Halprin (Melbourne Institute of Sport), Tim Downes (Basketball Victoria), Ben Rychter, Lauren, Jessie, Jasmine, Casey and Danni for your support on the day. We could not have managed without your assistance!

All participating teams have also hosted events of this nature, allowing the ‘Dolphins’ to enter into in regular competitions. Unlike the mainstream basketball teams, the all abilities teams have not traditionally had the same opportunity to participate in a weekly competition, however this is something we look forward to working towards over the next few years.

Click on image above for more photos from this event
 
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