One of the greatest wheelchair basketball players the sport has produced, Patrick Anderson wants to use every opportunity to promote the sport and encourage players to work hard and play free.
“That’s what I have done my whole career. It’s not easy though,” said Anderson, the three-time Paralympic gold medallist who guided Canada into the quarter-finals at the ongoing IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 on Friday.
Canada defeated Brazil 69-53 in their last-16 match played in Court 1 of the World Trade Centre Halls. Colin Higgins top scored with 22 points.
“Sometimes it feels like pressure to live up to the expectations of everyone; it gets harder and harder every year. But most of the time, I am grateful for the opportunities to meet people, encourage them work hard and play free.
“I like to be the ambassador of the sport; enjoy the lifestyle of being an athlete and trying to get better every day. I also want these youngsters to get a taste of the medal rounds – quarter-finals, semi-finals – playing for a medal; something I took for granted when I was younger. The game is so much tougher now. So, I am here to give what I can; whether it’s starting or coming off the bench in a more supportive role,” said the charismatic 43-year-old from Edmonton, who was part of Canada team that took the gold in 2006 World Championships.
Apart from that, he has represented Canada in 1998, 2002, and 2018 World Championships and this year in Dubai.
Anderson, who joined the Canada national team in 1997 only to become one of the best in the world, highlighted the importance of the match against Brazil.
“We lost that game (last-16) in the 2018 Worlds. It was probably the lowest point of my career. Here, we didn’t have anything to lose; we are not the favourites in the tournament. So, it’s an important win for us.
“Going forward we are excited now. Whoever we are playing next – if it’s the Dutch we have played them a number of times and we are very familiar with.”
The legend, who returned to the game in 2011 after a break following the 2008 Paralympic Games to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional musician, listed the “London 2012 Paralympics as a favourite” among all his titles.
“Now, I want to make the most of every opportunity. May be another Paralympic medal will be very special.”
Canada, who also have one silver and four bronze from the Worlds, will next take on the Netherlands in the last-8 match on Friday. Among the other teams who entered the quarter-finals were Italy, Iran, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, USA and Great Britain.
The hosts UAE finished their campaign losing to Germany 16-87.
Results Men’s Last-16
Italy 64-36 Thailand
Canada 69-53 Brazil
Iran 89 -79 France
Australia 95-39 Egypt
Netherlands 88-29 Iraq
Germany 87-16 United Arab Emirates
Great Britain 78-51 Korea
USA 67-50 Argentina
Quarter-Final Line ups.
Friday 16 June 2023
12:15 | Germany vs Iran
14:30| Netherlands vs Canada
16:45 | Australia vs USA
19:00 | Great Britain vs Italy
*All times are in local time.
Text Credit: Priyanka Sharma / DCD
Picturs Credit: Yahya Essa / DCD and Steffie Wunderl Fotografie