PMB cop off to Beijing in national wheelchair basketball team

2008-06-23 00:00

A police superintendent at the Plessislaer Police Station in Edendale will represent South Africa at the Beijing Paralympics.

Jeremy Nel (34) has been selected for the Sasol national wheelchair basketball team. Nel chose to participate in wheelchair basketball in 1998, following a shooting incident in 1994 while on duty, after which one of his legs was amputated.

He said he turned to basketball to keep active since it is the most action-packed disability sport.

“I started playing for the University of Port Elizabeth team and then relocated to KZN in 1998 to find no team in existence here.”

So he started and captained the Visa Wings team in 2001, the only team from KZN to be selected for the premier league. The team qualified for the SuperSport Series.

“It has not been an easy journey, not an easy 10 years, especially on the family side. I have been away from my wife every weekend for at least nine months of the year. It’s good to put Pietermaritzburg on the map. I’m proud to be a policeman and it’s a dream come true to play for the Sasol national team,” said Nel.

Nel’s expectations for the Beijing games are to at least reach the top six, since at present South Africa is ranked 12th. He said if this goal is realised, Africa will be given another slot to compete, and South Africa will not have to qualify for the next Paralympics. The team play their first match against Iran on September 6.

Nel is one of three players from the province to be selected for the 12-man national team.

He has been part of the national team for the past four years, following his debut in 2004 against Israel.

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