Cambodia: Women’s wheelchair basketball team display skill and hard work in Thailand

The Cambodian women’s wheelchair basketball team comprises members from Battambang and Kampong Speu provinces, some of whom are survivors of landmine incidents that claimed their limbs and altered their lives long after conflict had ended.

The team was formed in July 2012 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as part of its social inclusion projects which aim to empower people with disabilities, helping them to achieve better quality of life and integrate into their communities with dignity. Sports for people with disabilities effectively shifts the focus to their abilities, boosting their self-esteem and transforming the community’s perception. Talking about the team’s remarkable performance, Pherum Van, the ICRC’s social inclusion officer who accompanied them from Cambodia, said each player had dedicated extensive time practising for this competition. Before defeating the Laos team, the Cambodian players won four other matches, including one against Australia.

 “What we witnessed was the impact of our support over the years. Women’s wheelchair basketball in Cambodia, initiated by the ICRC a decade ago, has now become a sport inspiring national pride. It is wonderful to see this project continue to receive the support it needs,” said Prem Saggurthi, ICRC’s physical rehabilitation specialist, highlighting that the team members have grown in skill and confidence.

Though the Cambodian women’s team did not advance to the final round for paralympic this year, team members shared that their objectives were already fulfilled. “We came to prove that disabled people can do everything like others and are not a burden in society,” said Sieng Sokchan, captain of the team in Battambang Province.

Source : Icrc