Wikinews interviews Great Britain men's national wheelchair basketball player Joni Pollock

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homebush Bay, New South WalesWikinews sat down with Great Britain men's national wheelchair basketball player Joni Pollock before a practice session at the Rollers & Gliders World Challenge in Sydney.

Pollock during the interview
Image: Bidgee.
Wikinews reporter LauraHale interviewing Pollock
Image: Bidgee.
Pollock showing his tattoos
Image: Bidgee.
Wikinews reporters LauraHale and Bidgee interview Great Britain men's national wheelchair basketball player Joni Pollock

British-born Pollock was born with the condition spina bifida. He explained he could walk with difficulty up until age twelve or thirteen, after which he began using a wheelchair. Shortly after this, he began playing wheelchair basketball. He attended a disabilities tournament for children with disabilities in England, where he tried both wheelchair basketball, since he came from a town where team sports were popular; and wheelchair tennis, as he'd played with an able-bodied friend. Ultimately, he chose wheelchair basketball as it was a team sport.

Wikinews asked Pollock about being loud towards his team mates during the match on July 20 between the Australian Rollers and the Great Britain Bulldogs. He said he was out of wheelchair basketball for nine months due to a pressure sore and surgery on his shoulder, and has been making a comeback since January, with the doctors and physiotherapists giving him the all-clear in April. On that night, he said, the Australian team used bullying tactics and some of his teammates on the British team didn't step up to win the game. He also said that no matter what team his team plays against, he has a target on his back because of his calibre of playing in the game, and his team failed to to understand it that night, leaving him frustrated with his team and himself; and, he hates coming to Australia during a Paralympic year since the home town —that is, Australian— referees do not protect the visiting team from the home team's dirty playing, which puts the British team's gold medal prospects in jeopardy.

Wikinews also asked Pollock his opinions regarding Oscar Pistorius. Pollock believes Pistorius shouldn't be competing in the Olympics if other Paralympic athletes can't compete. He also mentioned reservations about certain technical aspects, such as whether Pistorius would be the same height if he still had his legs rather then his prosthetic legs. Asked about 5 point players playing in wheelchair basketball, he said he believes 5 point players can play with other point players but not in the Paralympics, and said 5 point players currently play in the domestic league but not at the elite level, to boost the number of players participating and to help the development of the game.

Wikinews also questioned him about tattoos worn by members of the British team. In previous years, he said, only one or two forwards had tattoos, but now almost everyone has one as having tattoos is currently in fashion. He said he got his first tattoo at the age of sixteen and only recently had it removed. He also has tattoos on his right arm, depicting the logos of the Paralympics and World championships in which he competed.

Pollocks's team begins its London campaign on August 30, against the Germany men's national wheelchair basketball team.


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Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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