South Sudan’s wheelchair basketball team did not become a full member of the International Olympic Committee, but the players still dream of competing.
JUBA, South Sudan — At a basketball court in South Sudan’s capital Juba, the national wheelchair team is still practicing hard - despite only a glimmer of hope that a select few will get a last-minute chance to compete in London’s upcoming Paralympic Games.
Wheelchair-bound basketball players race around a court in the sweltering evening heat. The players bear the scars of the ravages of war and poverty: limbs lost to land mines and bomb shrapnel, or twisted by polio.
The decades-long civil war from which the new nation of South Sudan emerged in July 2011 left a legacy of some 50,000 disabled people. It is why representation of the wheelchair basketball team in this year’s Paralympic Games is so important.