Varsity 2013: Wheelchair Basketball Exhibition

21st March 2013

The dust had settled in the University Park Sports Centre after Uni’s tremendous 54-34 netball win, but the action wasn’t over yet. A year of Varsity action that’s seen a number of new innovations and introductions was about to get one more, as the Varsity Series opened it’s doors to the world of wheelchair basketball. We were privileged to watch a display from the Derby Wheelblazers wheelchair basketball team, and afterwards members of the audience were invited to take a chair and give the sport a try for themselves.

Michael Gaffney spoke to two of the players, Martin Austin and Colin Hinnitch to find out how they first got involved with the sport of wheelchair basketball, and with the Wheelblazers team

As anyone who watched the sport at the Paralympics will attest, wheelchair basketball is a highly physical sport. Martin and Colin explained how the health and exercise aspect of wheelchair basketball adds to its appeal, on top of the competitive sporting side.

Colin and Matt emphasised the importance of improving the sport’s profile, and getting more people involved with the ever-growing wheelchair basketball comminity.

Furthermore, they pointed out that with the recent rule change to allow able-bodied participation in wheelchair basketball competitions, it really is a sport for everyone. This much was clearly apparent with the number of people who got involved with the afternoon’s wheelchair basketball taster session – not least AU Officer Jonny Bell, who seemed to have more of a talent for wheelchair basketball than for the standing up variety, at least if his woeful showing in the Varsity Basketball shootout had been anything to go by!

With Derby only being a short bus-ride away, there’s really no reason not to give wheelchair basketball a try with the Wheelblazers if you fancy giving it a go. Matt & Colin gave the details of how to get involved.

Derby Wheelblazers Wheelchair Basketball Club are based in Derby College Sports Centre, on Prince Charles Avenue, Derby. Training is on Sunday afternoons, 1 – 2.30 for juniors and 2.30 – 5 for seniors. You can also reach them via:


Mobile: 07875 416513 (Please make sure to leave a message if you don’t get through 1st try)




Words, interviews & audio by Michael Gaffney