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Cardiff wheelchair basketball club at the top of its game

Wheelchairbb1Cardiff Celts wheelchair basketball club has been home to some uplifting stories in its 12-year existence and it is going from strength to strength.

The community it has created has such a positive influence on those within it, and the support network it provides has helped so many. The opportunity the club offers has had a particularly profound impact on one of its newest members. Jamie McAnsh was left in a wheelchair just six weeks ago in an incident he still has difficulty talking about, but found basketball has helped him to adapt and come to terms with it.

“I struggled in order to go back into the community; I was introduced to the club because of that. Everyone in the team has been so supportive by helping me adapt to my new life,” said Mr McAnsh.

He had run 13 full marathons and 27 half marathons before he lost the use of his legs. He has filled the sporting void left with swimming, rowing and going to the gym but admits the Celts basketball club gives him so much more. “For me its one of the best sports I’ve ever done, I’ve got into it and I’ve really got hungry for it. It’s not just a game anymore, I’ve got quite passionate for it.”

The club has several able-bodied members, mostly friends and family of its disabled players, something which gives McAnsh the greatest pleasure. “There’s people out there able-bodied and people out there in worse condition than I am, that doesn’t matter, there’s no boundaries and that’s what I really enjoy about it.”

Joanna Coates, disability sports officer for Disability Sport Wales, founded the club in 2002 with a small group of dedicated individuals. Just 12 years on, it has trebled in size. “The club has now more than 30 members of all ages from young juniors to adults, from beginners through to elite athletes. We’ve seen people make it through to Great Britain level, so we really do cater for everybody,” said Ms Coates.

The Celts have two teams in the national league and travel across the UK with the first team competing in Division One Central. The second team host league leaders Lewisham Thunder at Talybont Sports Village on Sunday.

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