The IWBF announces with profound sadness the passing of our esteemed former IWBF Executive Council Member and Award of Merit Recipient, Francisca Ravestein, who passed away on Sunday 7 January at the age of 71 years old.

Serving on the IWBF Executive Council since 2014, Francisca played a pivotal role in shaping wheelchair basketball globally. Running for two terms as the Chairwoman of the Commission for Legal Matters and Eligibility (CLME), her oversight of legal affairs, regulations, and international transfers reflected her commitment to upholding the highest standards within our organization. She also oversaw the successful relocation of the IWBF headquarters to Switzerland.

Beyond her role with IWBF, Francisca was an advocate for inclusivity in sports, seamlessly integrating basketball and wheelchair basketball during her tenure as President of the Netherlands Basketball Federation between 2010 and 2020. Her influence reached far and wide, contributing significantly to major wheelchair basketball events in the Netherlands, including supporting the BEN Foundation when they stepped in as host of the 2019 Women’s European Championship when IWBF Europe could not find a host.

Something close to her heart was the growth of the women’s game. When Francisca attended the Paralympic Games in London in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, on behalf of the Netherlands Basketball Federation, it was a pleasure for her to witness the Netherlands women’s team clinch the bronze medal at both tournaments.

Her impact extended beyond borders, and she was honored as an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau for her exceptional contributions to national and international basketball. Additionally, she received the IWBF’s Award of Merit in recognition of her services to the sport at the 2023 IWBF World Congress.

The IWBF mourns the loss of a leader, a champion of inclusivity, and a dear friend. Her legacy will forever resonate in the basketball community. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and loved ones. May she rest in peace.


Feature Image: Photo Credit – Steffie Wunderl