The aim for wheelchair basketball in Switzerland is to increase more club teams in the country and encourage them to do register for the Championship in the future. Besides this they have grand plans for their National team who do not only want to be involved in European Championship but also want to compete alongside other the top teams in the world and be part of the eight best teams worldwide.
Ambitious goals – but for their aims they do a lot. Wheelchair basketball, besides handcycle, the sport with the most licensed participants in Switzerland. In total they have 90 licensed players at the moment plus approximately 30 to 50 additional players.
In Switzerland there are two national leagues with different teams from the German part of Switzerland and the Western Switzerland. Start of the season is the national tournament where all teams take part. This tournament is normally held in September before the official season starts in October. The season consists of three rounds with home and away games ending March, followed by a best of three playoff to establish the Champion.
Parallel to the Championship of Switzerland there is a Cup which is played in a knockout system. The two remaining teams in the Cup play in the final game at the Swiss Basketball Cup alongside the men’s and women’s running game.
During the last year they have discovered new players with great potential and the leagues have reached a period of relative stability. Although they don’t have a dedicated junior league, the junior athletes within Switzerland are supported well. The work with the juniors has improved a lot during the last years which is shown with a number of juniors who are currently playing abroad in international leagues. The top teams are stronger now and the quality of the referees has increased, but there is still a big gap between the top teams and the rest of the league.
What is really great is the particular aspect that all players know each other from a young age, which fosters a high team cohesion in the championship and also in the national team.
Switzerland’s wheelchair basketball is part of Wheelchair Sport Switzerland, a division of the Swiss Paraplegics Association. They make an appropriate budget available so that the league and team don’t need any big sponsors. The connections with the running bodies sport association, Swiss Basketball, has also improved. However basketball is not a very powerful sport in Switzerland, which makes it more difficult for wheelchair basketball to generate public interest, but they the Swiss are hoping to improve this.