THE Bendigo Gold Football Club may have folded, but the name is living on in sport in the city with a wheelchair basketball team.
The Bendigo Gold wheelchair basketball team was formed a year ago and recently competed in its first official tournament, winning a silver medal.
The Gold won silver in division two of a Basketball Victoria Regional Wheelchair Basketball tournament held in Geelong.
The side is captained by 27-year-old Joe Chivers, who said the Gold was rapt with their achievement at their first official competition.
“We had no expectations going in… we just wanted to have some fun and were thrilled with the result,” Chivers said on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a really varied group of players in both experience and skill.
“There’s some of us who have been playing for years, and others who this was only their third game in total.”
Chivers took up wheelchair basketball seven years ago following a skydiving accident in which he fractured his L1 vertebrae, causing him to become an L1 incomplete paraplegic.
“I was always very sporty… football, cricket, soccer, bike riding, basketball, whatever it was I could have a go at I did,” Chivers said.
“After my accident wheelchair basketball has given me the opportunity to get back out there, meet new people, learn new skills and get back into exercise.
“The team has been training for 12 months now and I don’t think we would have gone anywhere near as well as we did in Geelong if we hadn’t been together for that period of time.”
The Bendigo Gold – wearing uniforms sponsored by the Central Victoria Spina Bifida Support Group - played five games at the Geelong tournament, which culminated in a 19-18 grand final defeat to Gippsland.
The team is coached by Dean Young.
“Dean is fantastic and once he came on board, our skill and ability to enjoy the game really elevated,” Chivers said.
“He has so much knowledge and has been able to impart that on us.”
The Gold will hold a wheelchair basketball tournament in Bendigo in February, with Geelong and Shepparton to also compete.
The club hopes to hold it at the Bendigo Stadium in conjunction with a Bendigo Bank Spirit home game.
The Bendigo Gold train at Maiden Gully Primary School at 7.30pm on Thursdays.
For more information on the club, contact team manager Mark Logan on 0419 752 616 or check out the club’s Facebook page at Bendigo Gold Wheelchair Basketball.