Mana ath­lete se­lected for spe­cial world champs

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Ste­vie Bishop comes from a strong bas­ket­ball fam­ily and he hasn’t let in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity keep him off the court.

Ste­vie’s aunt rep­re­sented New Zealand, his brother plays for the Welling­ton Saints and now he has been se­lected for the na­tional team for the Spe­cial Olympics World Games.

The team will com­pete in Los An­ge­les in July, 2015.

Bas­ket­ball has al­ways been part of the Ti­tahi Bay fam­ily’s life, he said.

Bishop said he was look­ing for­ward to trav­el­ling to the United States, get- ting to know his nine team mates in their train­ing camps and to play­ing for his coun­try.

He is the only bas­ket­ball player to be cho­sen from the Welling­ton re­gion and his club coach He­len Brookes was also se­lected as na­tional team co­coach.

Brookes coaches in Porirua now, but pre­vi­ously won na­tional hon­ours dur­ing the nine years that she coached the Hutt Val­ley team, where she first met Bishop. He has a big mis­sion, she said. ‘‘Twelve months to raise $10,000 and 12 months to get into shape.’’

Bishop had played in the na­tional cham­pi­onships six months ago but had slacked off a lit­tle since, she said.

Fit­ness was dou­bly ben­e­fi­cial for him be­cause it re­duced the fre­quency of the reg­u­lar fits he ex­pe­ri­ences.

Brookes said she was amazed by the spe­cial ath­letes’ pas­sion for their sport. No mat­ter which team scores, they all cel­e­brate, she said.

‘‘They have this love for the sport that elite ath­letes might for­get about.’’

They are also es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing to coach.

‘‘They don’t ar­gue, but they do ques­tion,’’ she said.

She might send them on a cou­ple of laps to warm up be­fore train­ing, and they would ask ‘‘why?’’.

She would tell them why, and was likely to have the iden­ti­cal con­ver­sa­tion with the same ath­lete at the fol­low­ing week’s train­ing ses­sion.

She has about 22 spe­cial ath­letes turn­ing up to train­ing ev­ery week, most of whom will never play a game. They are just there for the fun. ‘‘Some­times we get hung up on stuff, and these ath­letes just re­mind you that, ac­tu­ally, life is pretty good,’’ Brookes said.

A fundrais­ing web­site has been set up for Bishop: www.givealit­tle.co.nz/ cause/Ste­vieworlds.

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