Similar to many wheelchair basketball leagues across the world, Turkey’s League has been on hiatus since last year, but will finally commence on Thursday 8th April as TBESF launch a modified format and schedule of their Super League.
Galatasaray’s Ismail Ar is a loyal servant to one of the Turkish heavyweights and will be playing his fifteenth season for the club. He explained how he can’t wait to get back on court:
“We played our last game over 13 months ago. That’s a very long time period for a player to go without games. We have been training for the last 7 months and have been waiting for the day the games would start with great excitement.
“I’m so excited. It will remind me of the first game I played when I started basketball. I’m yearning for the tension and excitement I feel before a game again.”
A modified format for the Super League will see the competition played over four stages, each at a centralised location. The first stage will take place between 8th – 12th April in Yalova, with 15 teams competing. There will be 7 games scheduled per day. This will be followed by stage two and stage three culminating in a Play-Off held between 4 – 12th June.
Looking ahead to the league, Ar, predicts that there will be some fierce competition:
“A lot of competent teams will play this year. There may be surprising results due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But I think that Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, İzmir, Gaziantep and undoubtedly Galatasaray will be the favourites.
“There have been some big names announced. A star like Patrick Anderson has returned to Europe after a long time… but also the likes of Iran’s Morteza Ibrahimi, Turkey’s Özgür Gürbulak, and youngster Enes Bulut may be notable names to watch out for.”
The Super League will also allow many of the Turkish national team players some much needed basketball ahead of heading to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in August/September.
Ar, who captains the Turkish men’s national team, emphasised this, as Turkey look to better their fourth-place finish at the Rio 2016 Paralympics Games by finishing on the podium in Tokyo, adding:
“The league is very important for us to experience the game again; I don’t think that we can get ready for Tokyo by just playing in tournaments abroad ahead of the Games.”
Turkey’s first, second and third divisions will also return to action in a staggered manner from the end of April until June to ensure a safe return to sport for all.
For more information regarding Turkey’s National Leagues visit http://www.engelsizbasket.com
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