INTERVIEW: Wheelchair Basketball Ambassador Chris Simporis

Wheelchair Basketball Ambassador Chris Simporis filled with belief as Brighton Panthers look to go from strength to strength after a successful British Wheelchair Basketball Championship.            

Brighton Panthers winning second place at the BWB Championships was testament to the hard work that the Panthers have put in over the last two years. We spoke to the team captain, Chris Simporis, who had this to say:

“It’s an incredible experience, and I’m really proud of the whole club. We’ve put a lot of work into building the club over the last two years, and being recognised as one of the best University clubs in the country has proved our efforts to be worthwhile.”

The club was only set up last year with the help of British Wheelchair Basketball. The foundations have been laid – many more successful years are ahead for the Brighton Panthers.

Chris said: “BWB fund a number of universities every four years. The University of Brighton are lucky to have this opportunity for the next two years.”

At the professional level the game is played by disabled sportsmen and women, but at University that is not the case. Able bodied players play alongside disabled players.

Since the Paralympics in London 2012 efforts have been made to promote the sport and increase the participation levels.

Chris agreed with this, saying: “Yes, definitely a heightened knowledge. Most people have now seen a game, or at least heard of wheelchair basketball.”

And at the University of Brighton promoting the sport and branching out to people is paramount to further the recognition of the sport.

“BWB and Parklife have been amazing at promoting the sport, and have managed to get a lot of people to give it a go” said Chris.

Previous experience of Wheelchair Basketball is not needed: “we have all the equipment and you don’t need to have any experience of the sport to take part.”

The motivation might be there. If the sport of Wheelchair Basketball appeals to you, what are you waiting for?

You might be waiting for that deal-clincher. Well here it is: “Carl Scott who plays in the Premier Division with Tornadoes [is the Brighton Panthers] professional coach who will help you get the hang of the sport.”

The future looks bright for the Brighton Panthers and progress off the pitch is something Chris is looking forward to:

“Over the next two years we’ll be working on increasing our disabled membership, promoting the sport in local schools, and integrating more with the local professional team Brighton Tigers… [and] of course, taking the gold at the next University Championships.”

If you think Wheelchair Basketball could be for you, Parklife sessions take place every Thursday from 6.30pm until 8pm in the Falmer Sports Centre.

By Michael Stokoe

The Verse Staff

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