Junior Halberg Games encourage having a go

Daisy Eaglesome doesn't require a wheelchair in day-to-day life but loves wheelchair basketball.
ZIZI SPARKS/STUFF

Daisy Eaglesome doesn't require a wheelchair in day-to-day life but loves wheelchair basketball.

Daisy Eaglesome hopes playing wheelchair basketball at a junior sports tournament will get more people involved in the sport.

The 15-year-old has been playing wheelchair basketball for almost four years.

"I got involved when a friend, she's got cerebral palsy, she said it's so much fun you'll have to try it," Daisy said.

Auckland WheelStarz player Daisy Eaglesome in possession of the ball.
Lucky Kaukau

Auckland WheelStarz player Daisy Eaglesome in possession of the ball.

"I'd been playing netball all through primary school but it was getting a bit too hard."

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She has spina bifida and doesn't require a wheelchair in day-to-day life, but uses one for the game.

Daisy, right, has been playing for about four years and is ranked as a mid-point player.
Lise Baldwin

Daisy, right, has been playing for about four years and is ranked as a mid-point player.

The sport has a men's national team but not a women's and the junior level covers from ages 12 to 23. 

Daisy will be joining other players from the junior Auckland team - the WheelStarz - at the Halberg Junior Disability Games in Auckland from October 6 till 8.

The games are a three-day competition for physically disabled and visually impaired 8 to 21 year olds. Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney will be part of the opening ceremony which includes lighting the games flame.

Around 200 athletes will compete in a range of sports and athletes will also have the chance to try new sports.

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Daisy plans to try wheelchair racing which she's only done once before.

But her heart lies with basketball.

"It's really fast and it's heaps of fun. When I first started I can remember, it's like driving dodgem cars," she said.

"There's also a lot of strategies and thought behind it."

The Takapuna Grammar School has her own custom-made chair. It cost about $8500 which the teenager managed with grants from Halberg, the St Patrick's Day Golf Club Trust and the CCS Disability Action jubilee trust.

"As you get more serious it's good to get your own [chair]. It fits properly. You can move the chair and you're as one. It's more like an extra body part."

Wheelchair basketball teams have five on a side and each player is given a points ranking with those with more mobility ranked around four and those with less use of their limbs ranked lower. The points can only total 14 at any time.

Daisy is ranked at four, but sometimes gets relegated to three in senior games, because of her age and gender.

Daisy will also be competing in the National Championships with one of three Auckland senior teams, the Wheelbreakers, on September 23.

 - Stuff

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