The Australian Rollers have set the tone for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Qualifiers with a one-point win against Japan, the reigning Paralympic silver medallist. In a poignant tribute, the team honoured wheelchair basketball legends Uncle Kevin Coombs, Barry Spicer, Murray Treseder, and Lenny Ettridge, all of whom passed in 2023.
Captain Tristian Knowles and Bill Latham lead the charge, notching 29 points between them to lock in their first win of the tournament. However, beyond the stat sheet, tonight’s game was an homage to the legends who came before them.
With their green and gold kits adorned with a black band, Knowles said it was important to the team to honour those who blazed a trail before them.
“The last six months has been pretty rough for everyone who is involved in the Rollers family because we’ve had to say goodbye to four prominent gentlemen who have all enriched our program in so many ways.
“I think it forces us to stop and take a step back and appreciate what they’ve done in our nearly seventy-year history, because we wouldn’t be where we are today if it hadn’t of been for them.
“We are just a small little blip on the radar passing through, and while we are here to do a job qualify the team for Paris, it’s important to take a step back and remember and appreciate what all the pioneers before us have done for our sport.
“Honouring these legends simply reminds us that the being a Roller is bigger than what’s in front of us,” added Head Coach Brad Ness.
The Rollers will play Korea on Sunday at 6:30pm AEDT.
All games are streamed live and free via IWBF YouTube.