On Saturday 7th April, 24 women came together to participate in the Kelly Griffin Challenge 2018 which was supported by Invacare New Zealand. As the only women’s wheelchair basketball event in NZ it was fantastic to see so many people come together to play and support the event. Players ranged from those who have been playing for years whilst for others it was their first taste of the sport, including Auckland Dream players! And that is what this event and ongoing training is all about – bringing women together, whether they have a disability or not, to have fun and hopefully instil a life-long love of wheelchair basketball that will help it grow and develop in NZ. After one year, the number of women playing wheelchair basketball in Auckland has increased from 11 to 20 players.
The day was split into training in the morning, a 3x3 tournament and a 5x5 finale. It was concluded with an awards ceremony and evening meal. The 3x3 tournament was closely contested with each game being tight. Mii Pepe, ref on the day and NZ Roller Blacks player, commented “some awesome talent out there and skills”. Currently NZ don’t have a women’s wheelchair basketball team but many of the Auckland players would love to see that change. They intend to form their own team for some of the NZ competitions to show that they are here, and they’re here to stay.
The 3x3 tournament results:
- Gold - Daniella Egle-Bast, Te Rongopai McNaught and Faithleen Tou
- Silver – Cathy Parker, Stacey Teiho and AJ Pouoa
- Bronze – Tamara Gotty, Jewel Byles, Matakorama Waipouri
- Low Pointer – Faithleen Tou
- Mid Pointer – Daisy Eaglesome
- High Pointer – Cathy Parker
Invacare Most Improved
- Junior – Jewel Byles
- Senior – Beccie Gannon
Kelly Griffin Spirit of the Game Award
- Runners up – Faithleen Tou and Daisy Eaglesome
- Winner – Daniella Egle-Bast
The day would not have been possible without volunteer support. Special thanks to all the people who continue to give their time freely to enable wheelchair basketball here in Auckland to thrive.
- Organising Committee – Lizzie Edgecombe, Cathy Parker, Daniella Egle-Bast, Dave Sherriff, Brendon Stratton and Diane Eaglesome
- Coaches – Dave Sherriff and Brendon Stratton
- Referees – Mark Sullivan, Mii Pepe, Ricardo Gozon and Warren Putt
- Score Bench – Kauri Murray, Leighton Teiho, Matt Ngametua, Daniel Goulton, Tere Tuakana and Steve Hei
- Event Assistance – Tina Harris and Emma Cooper-Williams
- Photographers – Lise Baldwin and Lucky Kaukau
Final thanks goes to the family of Kelly Griffin – Jenny, Dan and Katey. Thank you for continuing to support the Kelly Griffin Challenge and to Katey for joining in the 5x5 finale, it’s always great to have you on the court. Kelly will never be forgotten.