‘Trailblazers’ give walking basketball their best shot

‘Trailblazers’ give walking basketball their best shot

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GRAN DUNK – Walking basketball player Beverley Cruise shoots some hoops.

GRAN DUNK – Walking basketball player Beverley Cruise shoots some hoops.

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Group of seniors are playing a modified form of the sport called walking basketball, as part of a pilot program run by Basketball Victoria and Knox City Council.

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THEY may have an average age of 75, but that’s not stopping a group of Victorian seniors making waves in the world of basketball.

While their game is not as fast-paced as you would expect from the Boomers, these sporty seniors, including some with walkers and a legally blind man, are giving it their best shot.

Beverley Cruise, 73, from The Basin, said when she first heard about the idea she wasn’t keen. “I’m not sporty – I’m more into craft,” she said.

“But it is just the best thing I’ve ever done. You come out feeling really good and I’m think we’re all so lucky to have this opportunity.”

While the game is played at walking pace, Beverley said things do get competitive on the court. The program was the brainchild of Basketball Victoria development officer Albert Osei-Tutu and was supported by Vic Health.

“The idea was originally to create a slower, lower impact form of basketball for people of all ages who might be intimidated by the pace of regular basketball,” he said.

From there, the idea of walking basketball for seniors evolved. Instead of shooting into high hoops, the older players slam dunk into waist-height baskets. Running is not allowed.

“Sometimes I have to penalise them for going too fast though!” Albert said, adding that anyone who plays “really loves it”.

“There are a lot of laughs. The atmosphere is fun and that’s the main part of the message. You might be older but it doesn’t mean you can’t try and have fun.”

Participants in walking frames or with limited mobility can choose to just do the warm-up while seated and bounce the ball to a partner.

Albert hopes to roll the program out across the state. “I guess you could say we’re the trailblazers in this field,” he said.

9837-8000, www.basketballvictoria.com.au

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