Friday, 25 January 2013 08:43

Brooks set to host wheelchair basketball tournament Jan. 26

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To help expand the diversity and inclusion related activities held in the City of Brooks, organizers have turned an eye to recognizing the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A wheelchair basketball tournament will take place Jan. 26 starting at 8 a.m.

 

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams with the rest of the money raised supporting local programs for people with disabilities.
“We have done a lot of inclusion an diversity work and recognition around culture and ethnicities,” says Jeff Gerestein, inclusion co-ordinator for the City of Brooks. “We haven’t done so much around the socio-economic and persons with disabilities. We felt we should expand on our diversity-related initiatives.”
The tournament had been set to take place Dec. 3, the actual day of recognition, but due to busy schedules and two other major tournaments that weekend, it was decided to postpone it until this month.
“We still want to promote awareness around the  International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the struggles people with disabilities face,” adds Gerestein.
Organizers are excited about hosting this event.
“Through this opportunity, we hope to raise awareness of Para-sports and for the athletes to inspire individuals with physical disabilities to keep active,” said Beth Landowski, City recreation programmer, in a news release.
It is hoped eight teams will be competing during the tournament including representatives from the Kinsmen, RCMP, City of Brooks and County of Newell. The day, which starts at 8 a.m., includes mini-relay races and other smaller competitions along with basketball matches.
All funds raised, after the prize payouts, will likely be handed over to the Newell Community Action Group, which does a lot of work to help people with disabilities. The community’s businesses have also stepped forward with donations.
The 10 wheelchairs needed to hold the event will be provided by the Calgary Rollers wheelchair basketball team.
The event is free for the public to come out and watch, taking place at the Cenovus Flex Hall.
“Hopefully, if we get a lot of interest, we can do it again. I would love to recognize the International Day of Persons with Disabilities every year,” says Gerestein.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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