Image: Battambang Roses players laughing and playing

Cambodia’s First Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team

So many of us are not experiencing our best lives because we fear “not being good enough” that we don’t even try. But the women of the Battambang, Cambodia wheelchair basketball team are a testimony to just how much we can bear to gain if we do!

From knowing next to nothing about the sport when they got together to traveling internationally to compete in the 2018 Asian Para Games, the Battambang Roses’ story will surely have you trying out something new in your own life!

If you’ve ever let the fear of failure limit your potential to try something new, then here is a team to surround yourself with!

Image: Battambang Roses players playing wheelchair basketball
Source: Lauren DeCicca

So much more than a sport!

In Cambodia, almost 4% of people live with a disability that impairs their ability to walk. 1 And many of these individuals lack access to resources, like wheelchairs, to improve their mobility. So, in 2012 when The Red Cross approached Sieng Sokchan to coach a wheelchair basketball team—soon to be called the Battambang Roses—getting other women to join the team was a struggle.

But as with anything truly meaningful in life, the story of the Battambang Roses hasn’t been just about success on the scoreboard.

When the team first came together, many of the players were intimidated by the fact that they didn’t know how to play the game, and some didn’t even own a wheelchair at the time. But it didn’t take long for them to understand that this was more than a game. This was an opportunity for friendship and community in a way that they’d never had before!

This beautiful film showcased by National Geographic brings us closer to their journey, as they played in their first-ever international competition! Head-to-head with some of the best wheelchair basketball teams on the continent, Cambodia’s spirit always stayed strong. Take a look!

Via: National Geographic 2

If you’re curious about the specific wheelchairs they’re using in basketball, check out this article from Paralympic. It takes us through different ways that wheelchairs are designed to accommodate basketball, rugby, racing, and tennis players!

Expanding horizons!

When’s the last time that you tried something entirely new?

While being a beginner can be seen as “scary,” this fresh start is an opportunity for so much possibility! When we allow ourselves to be in the beginner’s mindset, the world opens up for us a little bit. Out of our comfort zone and once again a student, we get to draw new lines and reinvent what we’re capable of.

This moment is an opportunity for growth, not only individually, but for the community. Because nothing makes friends quicker than connecting over a shared experience, and absolutely nothing shows us who we are better than how we approach a new obstacle.

Discover how others have changed their lives by diving into something new with these inspiring articles!

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So, what’s that thing you’ve always wanted to try? What’s stopping you from giving it a go? And who can you bring along with you?

The world is open as your playground. Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

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Notes:

  1. Demographic and Health Survey, 2014, Lay Chhan National Institute of Statistics of Cambodia, United Nations Regional Meeting on Disability Measurement and Statistics in Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2020 World Population and Housing Programme, Bangkok.
  2. National Geographic. “Cambodia’s First Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team | National Geographic.” YouTube, 27 Oct. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9jZseMZ5Ig. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020.
Published: October 3, 2020

Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

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