Celebrity actor and co-producer of the recently premiered comedy-drama Baby Mama, Salamina Mosese was among the fans that attended the Vodacom Wheelchair Basketball Challenge at the Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Sports Centre in Johannesburg.
Mosese, whose love for basketball dates back to her high school days, saw her cheering from the stands for the teams fighting for the title of National Champions in Johannesburg.
In the battle for the title, Central Gauteng shocked pre-match favourites North West Province 61-47 to claim the coveted Vodacom Wheelchair Basketball Challenge National Champions title, denying North West their third consecutive Vodacom Challenge title, and securing the R100 000 in prize money for themselves.
In the curtain raiser, Eastern Cape claimed a narrow 22-20 victory over Gauteng for the u-23 title and R50 000 in prize money.
Mosese said she was inspired by the passion and the grit the players showed on the court.
“I’ve watched wheelchair basketball on TV but I think when you experience it in person, the court and the atmosphere it is so much more exciting,” Mosese said.
In the women’s match, continuing their superb form, the North West Bees claimed their second consecutive Vodacom Wheelchair Basketball Challenge after beating KwaZulu-Natal 38-12. The North West Bees were also awarded R50 000 for their efforts.
“I’ve actually only seen male teams in action, so this was the first time watching the women play and it was amazing to see. They are so strong and I didn’t realise how rough it was.”
“As an able-bodied person who played basketball at school, I know how taxing the sport is on your body. So, watching these players just get up in their chairs after they’ve fallen and continuing to play is amazing. This is among the highest levels of athleticism I’ve seen in sport.”
Joining Mosese was former soapie actor and director Erik Holm, who himself is wheelchair bound and came to the arena to show his support. Holm was left paralysed after diving into a lake to retrieve a ball during an impromptu game of volleyball with some kids more than a decade ago.
“Using a wheelchair for my own mobility I know what it takes to move around, and I could not believe how fast these guys are. It is insane how fast and accurate they are,” Holm said.
“Vodacom is proud to be associated with the Wheelchair Basketball in South Africa and it is heart-warming to see how the sport has grown in stature and quality over the last 19 years of our involvement,” said Janus Kloppers, Principle Specialist for Sponsorship at Vodacom.
Wheelchair Basketball South Africa (WBSA) chief executive Charles Sanders said through their partnership with Vodacom they have been able to change the face of the sport.
“We have great sponsors There are no doubts about that,” Sander said.
Add us on WhatsApp today! Comaro Chronicle: 079 427 8074 and Southern Courier: 079 404 5789.
Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox: Newsletter-Signup