Schools Pupils Strive for Medals

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School pupils with a physical disability represented their school alongside their non-disabled classmates in a fast-paced game that is on the rise in schools across both the West Midlands and the country.

Keeping the inspiration of the stunning 2012 Paralympic Games, a record breaking number of schools from West Midlands took centre stage at the University of Worcester on Thursday 14th March in the 2013 Inclusive Zone Basketball (IZB) Regional Schools Competition.

With not only the Regional Title to play for but a highly coveted spot in the National Finals, pupils from ten schools including Nunnery Wood High School, Westminster School, The Lord Silkin School, and Tudor Grange Academy all brought their best games to an action-packed day.

Indeed, all teams were straight off the mark in a fantastic opening round of the regional heat. The next set of games then saw the teams in intense battles to determine their final Play Off groups. A heart-breaking battle for the 2011 West Midlands Champions saw The Lord Silkin School, who just missed out on the Gold-Bronze Play Offs after Nunnery Wood High School ground out a win after both extra time and an extremely tense sudden death shoot-out.

Tudor Grange Academy and Christopher Whitehead Language College joined Nunnery Wood High in the round robin to determine who was getting a place in the medal positions. After three incredibly close matches, Tudor Grange Academy triumphed to be crowned the 2013 West Midlands IZB Champions and earned a place in the National Finals, which will take place at Worcester Arena on 1st May. Nunnery Wood High School came second best, achieving Silver and Christopher Whitehead Language College went home with Bronze.

British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB) Education Officer Matt Gibbs said: “The 2013 West Midlands IZB tournament has been the biggest and best yet! It’s fantastic to see so many schools in the region building upon the fantastic coverage of wheelchair basketball and the Paralympic Games to create a real sporting legacy. The incredible support from Craig Williams and his team at the University of Worcester both today and in their management of the West Midlands Regional Centre for Wheelchair Basketball has been fundamental in driving this competition forward.”

University of Worcester Coach Education Manager Craig Williams, who co-organised the day’s event as lead for the West Midlands Regional Wheelchair Basketball Centre, said: "The mix of new and experienced players/teams, disabled and non-disabled players has been superb, really breaking down barriers to inclusive participation in sport. Students of the University of Worcester and players from the Worcester Wolves basketball programme have supported today and our outreach programme brilliantly. We look forward to welcoming BWB back to Worcester for the National IZB Finals on 1st May at the new Worcester Arena."

* Inclusive Zone Basketball (IZB) is a 4 a-side game, developed to enable players who cannot participate in a full game of basketball to enjoy playing the game. The zones used enable players to be matched in their abilities within these zones. The small-sided teams and adapted playing area enable girls and boys, both disabled and non-disabled, to participate in a fun game of basketball.

The British Wheelchair Basketball IZB Competition sees schools from across the region come together to compete in the sport, first in regional heats with the winners then moving forward to the National Finals at Worcester Arena on the 1st May.