IWBF and the wheelchair basketball community wish a Happy 70th Birthday to Sir Philip Craven MBE, IWBF’s first ever president.

Sir Philip was wheelchair basketball’s first player to serve as its leader. Craven was elected chairman of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) wheelchair basketball section in 1988, successively leading the creation of the independent International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) in 1989. He would ultimately serve wheelchair basketball as its secretary general and later as its president from 1994 to 2002. In addition, Craven was an accomplished wheelchair basketball player, playing in five Paralympic Games from 1972 to 1988. He won gold with Great Britain at the first unofficial World Championships in 1973, and bronze in 1975, as well as two gold medals (1971, 1974) and a silver (1993) at the European Championships.

IWBF President, Ulf Mehrens said:

“Sir Philip Craven MBE has been instrumental in the development of Paralympic sport not only at the IPC, but in his previous roles including President of IWBF. He was an integral part in the formation of our federation and transformed the sport including shaping the classification system we still believe in today.

“Following his move to the IPC he continued to be a strong advocate of IWBF, the sport and the players. He has always attended games and Championships to show his support where possible and we hope to continue to welcome him at future events.

“On behalf of IWBF we would like to wish him a Happy 70th Birthday and thank him for all his work in transforming Paralympic sport.”

Countries from far and wide as well as lifelong friends of Sir Philip from wheelchair basketball have come together to send him birthday greetings and thank him for the tremendous work he has done not only for the sport of wheelchair basketball but for para sport as a whole.

 The wheelchair basketball family from across the globe sent Sir Philip personal messages to congratulate him on his special day.

Current World Champion, Great Britain’s Terry Bywater, said:

“Sir Philip, you are a legend. Some of things you have done for wheelchair basketball behind the scenes is absolutely amazing. You will never be forgotten in the world of wheelchair basketball, and even back in the day you used to be an amazing player and probably still regarded as one of the best one pointers that has played the game.”

Former International Referee and Spanish Administrator, Ricardo Moreno, added:

“It is a pride and satisfaction to be able to wish you a happy 70th birthday. I have shared half of my sports life with you, since I started at Stoke Mandeville, when you played and I was refereeing. I have lived with you important moments in our sports life. For example, I had the honor to have participated in the creation of IWBF. You as President, and I as the person in charge of Weelchair Basketball at the 92 Paralympic Games, in Barcelona we were able to livethis great experience, which marked a new era for the Games. I also had the pleasure of working with you in the IWBF Executive until you becam International Paralympic Committee president. During all this time I have remembered the great time I have spent with you and I wish you the best and a long life.”

IWBF would like to wish Sir Philip Craven MBE a Happy 70th Birthday and we hope you enjoy your special day!