The change that social reintegration is bringing about in the lives of wheelchair basketball players was evident at the 3rd National Wheelchair Basketball Championship. Non-stop action, spirited competition and a brilliant display of skill and technique made the atmosphere at J Jayalalitha Indoor Stadium in Chennai truly electric as Punjab took on Maharashtra in the final match on 30 December 2016.
The game turned out to be a thriller as Punjab tried to keep the pressure on defending champions Maharashtra even as the latter out-manoeuvred them at every stage. While Maharashtra won the coveted title for the third year in a row, the bar has been raised. These sportspersons have not only found a new meaning in life, but their emergence as national-level players is motivating several other wheelchair users across the country to pursue this game in order to overcome social and cultural barriers.
This video captures the highlights of the finale as well as the reactions of those who were left mesmerised as they watched the match live from the stands.
The 2016 edition of the National Championship — which is organised annually by the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India with the support of the ICRC — featured 97 male and 32 female players from over 10 states across India.