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'Ballers Score Points for Inclusivity

07 December, 2015   Yaocheng Lee

poh choon

Captan Choo Poh Choon in action [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]

Singapore may have lost their second consecutive game in wheelchair basketball, but the ASEAN Para Games (APG) is not about the medals - it’s instead about building a more inclusive society. And today the Team Singapore wheelchair basketball team did just that.

In front of the thousand strong crowd that was ardently cheering the hosts on, the team lost the battle but made another significant step towards winning the war.

Captain Choo Poh Choon said he was surprised to see how much more people are aware about para sports now.

“Previously, the crowd was actually our family members, but now we have actually members of the public coming to support us,” he said. “And today is a weekday. People had to rush down after work to watch us.”

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said about the APG, “It is a milestone for every Singaporean, as we mark the start of a movement to build a more inclusive society through sport.”

edwin khoo

Vice-captain Edwin Khoo in action [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]

For Vice-captain of the Team Singapore wheelchair basketball team Edwin Khoo, that was the main motivation for him and his fellow veterans to come out of retirement to participate in the Games.

“That was the main reason for us coming back for this APG,” said the 59-year-old. “Three quarter of us came out of retirement.” 

“We decided that for the sake of the community, for the sake of the disabled community, let’s put up something for them and let’s show them what we can do.”

Khoo, who had polio since he was two years old, has been in the wheelchair all his life and participating in para sports has shaped his way of thinking.

“I have gained a lot in disability sports. I have become independent. I make my own choices. I have my own life and I am married with kids,” he said.

“And it’s all because of a mind-set change. Never, ever give up. Never.”

Team Singapore lost to Myanmar 51-17 on Monday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The Singapore team, with an average age of 51 years were almost twice the age of the much younger Myanmar side, who had an average age of only 26 years.

Despite the significant age gap and going 31-2 down in the first half, the hosts did not lose hope and they made a valiant comeback in the second half.

Unfortunately, it was not enough as the visitors held on to their lead till the final whistle.

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