Ethiopia: “Wheelchair Basketball became my ultimate source of happiness”

20-year-old, Woubrist, (captain) led her team to the finals of the 6th National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament that was held in Bahir Dar, capital of the Amhara region from 16 to 21 March 2021. She was awarded the trophy of the best female wheelchair basketball player of the tournament. The tournament was organized by the ICRC, in partnership with the Ethiopian Wheelchair Basketball Association.

Participating teams of the 6th Ethiopian Wheelchair Basketball Championship Bahr Dar, Amhara region, 2021. Henok Birhanu /ICRC

Wheelchair basketball was introduced in Ethiopia in 2014 mainly with the support of the ICRC. ICRC provides wheelchairs, basketballs and other necessary inputs as well as relevant training for the promotion and development of the sport.

“Had it not been for the ICRC, I would have missed this lovely sport which changed my life for the better,” she remarked with a cheerful smile on her face.

Female players watching with suspense a thrown ball going down to the ring, Bahr Dar, Amhara region, 2021. Henok Birhanu /ICRC

Woubrist is a living testimony that disability does not deter one from achieving what they want. “It has given me strength to concentrate on my education and become self-reliant,” says Woubrist. Apart from enjoying the sport, she also works as a radiology technologist at the St. Paul Referral Hospital in Addis Ababa after graduating with a Degree in medical radiology technology in 2018.

Woubrist trying to pass her opponent and score a point during the tournament, Bahir Dar, Amhara region, 2021. Henok Birhanu /ICRC

Currently, there are 11 wheelchair basketball teams in Ethiopia representing different regions in the country with having more than 200 members.

Source : Icrc