Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to Host 26th Annual Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

Wheelchair basketballSubmitted Image, Photo by Joan Wheeler Photography

PHILADELPHIA, PA — In a celebration of athletic spirit and resilience, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is set to host the 26th annual Katie Kirlin Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament this January. This much-anticipated event, held at the School of the Future on Parkside Avenue, will see over 100 young athletes with physical disabilities from across the region compete in a series of high-energy basketball matches.

The tournament takes place on Saturday, January 20, 2024, from 9:45 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, January 21, 2024, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to athletes aged between 8 to 18 who have a physical disability. Beyond the thrill of competition, the tournament serves as a qualifier for the upcoming National Wheelchair Basketball Association tournament this spring, adding an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings.

The tournament features two divisions of play, accommodating varying levels of experience and skill. The prep division provides a platform for younger, beginner athletes to hone their skills and gain competitive experience. Simultaneously, the varsity division hosts older and more advanced athletes, showcasing the prowess and strategic finesse wheelchair basketball demands.

This year’s lineup includes youth wheelchair basketball teams from across the Northeast. Among them are Katie’s Komets from Philadelphia, Bennett Blazers from Baltimore, Fairfax Falcons from Virginia, New York Rolling Fury from New York City, Ryan Martin Foundation Trojans from Norwalk, and Sportable Spokes from Richmond.

Katie’s Komets, the home team, hold a special place in the tournament. As a co-ed wheelchair basketball team sponsored by Parks & Rec, Katie’s Komets embodies the organization’s commitment to providing affordable, high-quality programs for residents of all abilities. Named after Katie Kirlin, a pioneer in wheelchair sports, the team continues her legacy of championing inclusivity and access in sports.

For athletes with physical disabilities, events like the Katie Kirlin Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament hold immense significance. They provide an opportunity to participate in a competitive sporting event while promoting inclusivity, camaraderie, and personal growth. The tournament also serves as a powerful reminder of the athletic prowess these young competitors possess, breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes about disability.

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