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    Headlines

    NWBA Board of Directors Appoints Three New At-Large Members

    07/11/2019, 1:00pm CDT
    By NWBA Board of Directors

    Wheeler, Martin and Godsey join as new members of the NWBA BOD

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - One of the most important roles of any Board of Directors is to ensure that the appropriate leadership team is in place to help drive the attainment of its mission and strategic plan. Over the course of the last 18 months, the NWBA Board of Directors has reduced in size as several external members of the board have left the organization. Most recently, the appointment of the new NWBA CEO, Will Waller, has also created another vacancy. Of the 13 total number of elected or selected NWBA Board of Directors , the NWBA currently has eight serving in this role.

    The Board of Directors has recently spent time, in consideration of our Strategic Plan, looking at what knowledge, skills and capabilities the NWBA needs more of, and 3 areas stood out:

    -Coaches Development / High Performance

    -Revenue Generation

    -Financial / Business Acumen


    The Board of Directors then spent some time considering various candidates, and is excited to announce to you three members of the NWBA who have agreed to take on an At-Large role. Effective immediately, the Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of appointing the following three individuals to the NWBA Board of Directors: Stephanie Wheeler, Ryan Martin and Mike Godsey.
     

    Stephanie Wheeler has spent over 25 years in the sport of wheelchair basketball, and has developed a storied career spanning many levels of the game. She was inducted into the NWBA Hall of Fame in 2018, as a result of her many accomplishments in the sport. Her results include 2 Paralympic Gold Medals as an athlete (2004, 2008), as well as a Paralympic Gold Medal as a head coach (2016). She’s also competed in the NWBA Junior, Collegiate and Women’s Divisions. Her educational background is in Kinesiology, Adaptive Sports and Pedagogy, and she is currently completing her Doctoral Degree in Cultural Sports Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wheeler is the Head Coach of the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team at Illinois.

    Reflecting on her appointment to the Board, Wheeler added: “I’m beyond excited to be appointed to the BOD of the NWBA as the organization takes its next steps into the future.  This sport has had a huge impact on my life.  I’m honored to have the opportunity to give back in a way that aligns with my passion of creating diverse and inclusive sporting cultures that are built upon the knowledge that our strength as an organization lives in the diversity of our membership, which will in turn lead to the development of the next generation of high quality coaches at all levels for our athletes.  I look forward to using my passion and skills to contribute to the growth and development of the NWBA.”

    Ryan Martin, a beneficiary of the sport of wheelchair basketball, has been in the business of giving back to the sport for over 10 years. He started the Ryan Martin Foundation, which is a global non-profit organization that provides wheelchair basketball opportunities in the USA and Spain (where Martin played professionally for several years). Ryan has built a capability for establishing partnerships that allow him to create compelling programs, while helping businesses achieve their return on investment. He recently announced the creation of a wheelchair basketball program at City University of New York, where he began as an advisor and is now taking on the role as Head Coach.

    On his appointment, Ryan Martin said: "I'm thrilled to be appointed to the BOD of the NWBA as we collectively write our next chapter. The game has given me so much and this will be an opportunity for me to help serve the membership, ensuring that the future generations of the sport will be able to have the same level of opportunities I did. I look forward to using my background in non-profit work towards contributing to the rich tradition of the NWBA."

    Mike Godsey brings a wealth of experience to the NWBA Board of Directors, both from a business perspective, as well as in the realm of adaptive sports. He has been a Chief Financial Officer of multiple organizations that required him to have both technical accounting and financial analysis capabilities. On the adaptive sport side, Mike has been involved in this space for nearly 20 years. A highlight of Mike’s work is that he directs wheelchair basketball programming for Abilities Unlimited of the Carolinas, which now provides opportunity for 6 wheelchair basketball teams.

    Mike Godsey stated, "I'm excited about the opportunity to join the NWBA's Board of Directors and I look forward to utilizing my background from the business world and my passion for wheelchair basketball to help expand the growth of this wonderful sport across all Divisions."

    On behalf of the NWBA Board of Directors, we are excited to have such highly capable members as Stephanie, Ryan and Mike take on a leadership role for the organization,” said Will Waller. “Our greatest asset as an organization is our members, and I’m grateful to have so many people stating a willingness and taking action to become more involved. Balancing local needs with broader organizational needs will be crucial to our success. I am excited to work with this Board to create a better future for our sport and our Association.”

    Please join us in congratulating the newest members of the NWBA Board of Directors.

    GEORGETOWN, KENTUCKY- The Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Senior National Team conducted a site visit of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) yesterday in Georgetown, KY. The TMMK factory is Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world. 

    The site visit began with a meet and greet with TMMK executives including President Susan Elkington, TMMK’s first female president. Susan and other TMMK executives shared their professional careers and enjoyed impromptu discussions with the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team.

    Ukari Figgs, a former collegiate and professional women's basketball player and current Pilot Manager for TMMK, shared her story with Team USA. Figgs is a hometown basketball star in Georgetown, KY, capturing a state high school championship (Scott County - 1995), NCAA DI National Championship (Purdue - 1999) and WNBA Champions (Los Angeles Sparks - 2001). 

    Many of the players were in awe of Figgs. Bailey Moody said it was cool and inspiring to hear about all of her accomplishments. 

    “It was amazing to hear her story. She was asking for our autographs, but I felt like we should be asking for hers,” she said. 

    The women also met with leaders of Women’s Influencing and Impacting Toyota (WIIT) and ToyotAbility. WIIT is a group organized by Toyota Team members to cultivate a workplace environment that attracts, retains and promotes women through engagement, education, recognition, and networking. ToyotAbiltiy is also a group organized by Toyota team members, and supports those who have or care for someone with disabilities by furthering education and awareness.

    Later, the women were given a tour of the TMMK that showed the stages of how Toyota cars are built from rolls of steel to the final test drive. However, the highlight of the visit was at the end of the day when Team USA interacted with TMMK team members with a basketball skills exhibit, pictures and autographs. 

    TMMK team members sat in the players’ wheelchairs and Team USA members taught them how to play wheelchair basketball. Laughs and cheers were shared as some struggled and others made baskets. 

    Natalie Schneider said it was a meaningful experience.  

    “It was such a great experience. For them to take so much time out of their day to meet with us and show us what they do and what they value at Toyota and for us to have the opportunity to show them what we do was a valuable experience for the whole team,” she said.  

    TMMK annually produces approximately 550,000 vehicles and currently has over 10,000 employees. TMMK products are the Lexus ES 350, Camry (sedan/Hybrid), Avalon (sedan/Hybrid) and will soon start production on the RV4 Hybrid. TMMK is also home of the first U.S. built Camry in 1986. 

    The tour took place prior to the 2019 Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Kentucky Clash. 

    Click here (link 1) and here (link 2) for pictures of the TMMK visit and follow our Instagram story (@nwba) for updates on the Toyota Kentucky Clash. 

    Wichita Will Host 2020 Nationals

    07/09/2019, 2:00pm CDT
    By NWBA Team

    NWBA and Visit Wichita Announce Wichita, KS as Host of the Adult and Junior Division Championships, portions of the 2020 Toyota National Championship Series

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The National Wheelchair Basketball Association Board of Directors is excited to announce the dates and location for the Adult and Junior Division portions of the 2020 Toyota National Championship Series. The following national tournaments will be hosted in Wichita, KS:

    • National Adult Division I Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: March 12-14
    • National Adult Division II Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: March 12-14
    • National Adult Division III Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: March 12-14
    • National Varsity Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: March 13-15
    • National Varsity Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: March 13-15
    • National Prep Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: March 13-15

    The above events will be hosted at Wichita Hoops, a state of the art, 12-court basketball facility. Wichita Hoops has over 100,000 feet of expansive hardwood basketball courts, and comes with other critical amenities, such as built in shot clocks and scoreboards, as well as electronically adjustable rim heights for Junior Prep Division games. For more information, go to www.wichitahoops.com

    The top 16 ranked teams for each Adult Division (I, II, III) will earn an invite to their respective divisions’ national tournament. A total of 48 teams from the three Adult Divisions will battle it out for a coveted national title during this event.

    The top 16 ranked teams for Varsity level of play in the Junior Division will earn an invite to compete in the National Varsity Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, based on their performance throughout the season. Varsity teams ranked 17-32 will receive an invite to participate in the National Varsity Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament . The top 16 ranked teams from Prep earn an invitation to participate in the National Prep Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. 

    Will Waller, NWBA CEO, said: “The Board and I are pleased to announce this host of the 2020 Toyota Adult and Junior National Championship dates and location. We had a great team of members begin work on this immediately after 2019 Nationals, while feedback was still fresh. This team vigorously debated the options and developed thoughtful recommendations for the Board. The decision was difficult, but we feel we have selected partners who will help us balance our goals of further consolidation, memorable member experience and a financially responsible format.”

    Wichita will be well prepared for this tournament, as they have hosted numerous sporting events over the past few years and have many more on the calendar. In 2018, Wichita was host to the first and second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as well as the US Figure Skating Synchronized Skating Sectionals.  In addition to this tournament in 2020, Wichita will be hosting the NAIA Men’s Wrestling National Championship, two more US Figure Skating events and the ECHL Hockey All-Star Game.  Also, Wichita will once again host the first and second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2021 and the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in 2022.

    “We are excited to bring this event to Wichita, a sports city capable of hosting sporting events of all kinds and magnitudes,” said Brian Hargrove, Executive Director of Sports Development at Visit Wichita. “Wichita’s love of sports and top-notch facilities like Wichita Hoops make it a wonderful city for teams to compete in. Plus, Wichita has so much to offer athletes and those traveling with them during their time in our city, and we’re looking forward to helping to create an exciting and memorable experience.”

    Wichita is also no stranger to hosting large scale wheelchair basketball competitions. From 2014 to 2018, the American Collegiate Society for Adapted Athletics (led by Rob Egan) hosted The Wheelchair Basketball Bash in Wichita. Due to the success of this event, and the local following that was developed for the sport, Wichita was awarded the 2020 Toyota Intercollegiate Division Men’s and Women’s National Tournaments (March 18 – 21, 2020). For information on this tournament, click here.

    The Local Organizing Committees and NWBA will work to develop and publish detailed fact sheets for the newly awarded events in a timely fashion to allow potential attendees and teams to plan accordingly. All updates will be published on the NWBA website at www.nwba.org and distributed to NWBA registered members.

    About NWBA

    The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is the recognized National Organization for Wheelchair Basketball by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation and the High Performance Management Organization by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The NWBA trains and selects teams for participation in the Paralympic Games, World Championships, and other international competitions. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of seven divisions including: Adult Division (I, II and III), Women's Division, Intercollegiate Men's Division, Intercollegiate Women's Division and Junior Division. For more information, visit: www.nwba.org.

    Curtis Lease Withdraws Name from Ballot for President

    07/05/2019, 4:00pm CDT
    By Board of Directors

    Curtis Lease, NWBA Treasurer, is no longer running for President and has withdrawn his name from the ballot. In his notice to the Board, Lease stated: “...that after much consideration, I will not be running for President of the Board.  Maybe someday, but now is not the time.”

    He continued, “I hope to someday soon find my way back to an NWBA leadership position. As far as President, I think Tim Fox would do a fine job in that capacity.”

    On behalf of the Membership of the NWBA, The Board of Directors would like to thank Curtis for his many years of service to the Association, including his time as a Board Member.

    The vote for NWBA President will take place on August 3 at the Annual Assembly in Fairlawn, OH (Cleveland / Akron area). The other candidates for the role of President can be found by clicking the following link, which will take you to the earlier announcement.

    Click here to see the list of nominees. 

    Thank you,

    Board of Directors

    Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Comes to Kentucky

    07/01/2019, 3:15pm CDT
    By Rebekah Markovitz

    U.S. squad scheduled for TMMK site visit and five games against Canada

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Senior National Team will conduct a site visit at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) on Wednesday, July 10 in Georgetown, KY. The TMMK factory is Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world. The site visit will include a meet and greet with Toyota team members, discussions with ToyotAbility and a wheelchair basketball experience. ToyotAbiltiy is a group organized by Toyota team members to support those who have or care for someone with disabilities by furthering education and awareness. The tour will take place prior to the 2019 Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Kentucky Clash. 

    The 2019 Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Kentucky Clash will feature the Toyota USA Women’s Senior National Team playing five domestic exhibition games against Canada on July 12-16. The games will be hosted at Alumni Gym at Georgetown College, the address for Alumni Gym is 400 E College St, Georgetown, KY 40324. 

    Team USA’s first game of the 2019 Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Kentucky Clash is against their rivals Canada on July 12, at 2p.m. The U.S. and Canada teams have been neck and neck in IWBF and Paralympic competitions with a 3-4 and 4-3 record respectively. The last time these two teams played each other was in the 2018 IWBF World Championships when Canada beat the U.S. to claim fifth place, in a 68-53 contest. 

    Click here for a complete schedule of games for the Kentucky Clash. Please check the NWBA Facebook page to watch the livestream of games as available. 

    The 2019 Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Kentucky Clash will serve as a tune-up for the 2019 ParaPan American Games scheduled from August 17 to September 1, 2019, in Lima, Peru. The 2019 ParaPan American Games are the qualifying event for Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

    Head Coach Trooper Johnson will lead the team into action, assisted on the USA bench by Amy Spangler and Adam Kramer. Kearstin Gehlhausen serves as the Team Leader, with Karla Francioni filling the athletic trainer position. 

    The 12 members of the Toyota Team USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Senior National Team include Josie Aslakson, Megan Blunk, Abigail Dunkin, Kaitlyn Eaton, Rose Hollermann, Darlene Hunter, Alejandra Ibanez, Bailey Moody, Rebecca Murray, Courtney Ryan, Natalie Schnieder, and Lindsey Zurbrugg. 

    Follow 2019 Toyota USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Kentucky Clash news on facebook.com/NWBA70, twitter.com/nwba, and instagram.com/nwba.

    About the NWBA

    Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball in the United States. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) is comprised of 225 wheelchair basketball teams. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of eight divisions including:  Division I, Division II, Division III, Women’s Division, Intercollegiate Men’s Division, Intercollegiate Women’s Division and Junior Division.

    As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the NWBA is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.

    For further information about the NWBA, go to the official website www.nwba.org

     

    Chris Rathje Not Seeking Re-election as Junior Division President

    07/01/2019, 11:30am CDT
    By Rebekah Markovitz

    Chris Rathje is not seeking re-election as the Junior Division President. Rathje has decided to focus his efforts on creating new opportunities for wheelchair basketball kids. 

    Rathje wrote the following letter to the NWBA community regarding this decision.

    Dear NWBA Community,

    Thank you for allowing me to be the first former player to serve as President of the Junior Division. After serving a one year appointed term and two elected terms on the Junior Division Executive Committee, I will not be seeking re-election as Junior Division President. 

    Instead I will be focusing my efforts on forming a new committee that will center on establishing new opportunities for our kids, and bringing in hundreds of more kids and young adults into the tent of the NWBA. I was inspired to take on this project because of one of the Timothy J. Nugent Academic All American projects that was submitted this past season.  

    I have reached out to Bev Vaughn the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs to see how our two organizations can work together to create new opportunities for student-athletes with physical disabilities. We plan to work together with both our organizations benefiting with the ultimate benefactors being the children and young adults we all care about so deeply.

    Will Waller has asked us to take a, slow, thoughtful, approach to figure out how we can create more opportunities for our juniors population both in schools and outside of schools for students K-12. Both Bev and I are incredibly thankful to work with Mr. Waller on our ideas and we are hopeful we will serve Dr. Nugent’s legacy well.

    There are many personal thank you emails and calls I need to make over the days, weeks, and months to come, but I want to thank the amazing team that has been the Junior Division Executive Committee for the last two seasons. We have had some tough times, but we have also had some great victories including a record number of prep teams (35) in 2018-19.

    Thank you Mike and Diane for accepting me as a new member of the board many seasons ago. Thank you Dave, Emily, and Lisa for your new ideas, new programs, and general service to our of juniors.

    Thank you to every parent, volunteer, professional, and other family member who makes it possible for our student-athletes dreams to become a reality.

    Thank you Brandon, Buddy, and many others who have been the NWBA’s heart of servant leadership during some rough waters.

    Thank you to the student-athletes of the Junior Division. You are the reason we all work so hard. Dream Big and Work Even Bigger.  You can do anything. You are tougher and braver than most, but the world will not always see you properly. Ignore those who discourage you and embrace what you love. Work everyday, you possibly can, to make your dreams come true. Dreams can twist and turn, but you must always keep hope.

    I never dreamed that I would be president of our division when I started playing prep basketball in 1993, but here we are. I have learned so much and want to continue to work harder to push the envelope and create new opportunities. 

    Thank you for so many memories! Let’s create many more. I love you all and am thankful for Dr. Nugent’s bravery, everyday.

    Sincerely,

    Chris Rathje

    NWBA Hall of Fame Member Ella Chafee Has Passed Away

    06/18/2019, 11:00pm CDT
    By Linda Mastandrea*

    It is with profound sadness that the National Wheelchair Basketball Association announces Ella M. Chafee’s death. We are deeply saddened to have lost a beloved NWBA Hall of Fame member. 

    Chafee was a graduate of the University of Illinois, long-time member of the Midwest Olympians and Paralympians, supporter of Chicago's bid for the 2016’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, and founding member of the RIC Express/RIC Chicago Sky wheelchair basketball team. Ella Chafee’s Paralympic Games experience covers four decades and multiple sports. 

    Beginning at the 1964 Tokyo Games, Chafee won silver and bronze medals in swimming events, while earning another bronze medal in the foil fencing. Four years later, she won gold in the 4 x 100-meter track relay. Chafee returned 28 years later to compete in foil and epee fencing at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, placing highest among all US women in foil with an 8th place finish. 

    Among her many accolades through the years, Ella was inducted into the Wheelchair Sports USA Hall of Fame in 1990, the NWBA Hall of Fame in 2014 and received the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Fitness Sports and Recreation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Ella dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of people with disabilities—particularly girls and women—through sports participation, and touched people all over the world with her efforts. 

    Her obituary follows: 

    Ella Chafee (nee Cox)

    Beloved wife of the late Ian C. Chafee, Loving mother of Ian (Debra) Chafee & Kathleen (Eric) Hummitsch.
    Cherished grandmother of Grace, Cameron, Katelyn & Faith. Dear sister of Rita M. Cox. Fond sister in law of Hope Chafee.

    Resting at Thompson & Kuenster Funeral Home, 5570 W. 95th St in Oak Lawn where Services will take place Friday at 10:00 am.
    Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
    Visitation Thursday from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials to Lincoln Way Special Recreation Association, 1900 Heatherglen Drive, New Lenox, IL 60451 would be greatly appreciated.

    To donate click here. 

    *Thank you Linda Mastandrea for writing this wonderful piece about Ella 

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown will feature the Toyota Team USA Men’s Senior National Team playing six domestic exhibition games against Spain and Japan. The featured games, free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, June 22 at Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas (a north suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex). The following are details of the two featured games:

    • Team USA vs. Japan         10 a.m. CT
    • Spain vs. Team USA            1 p.m. CT

    Tickets for the Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown featured games are free. These featured games will include a Fan Fest area, an interactive game experience, Meet and Greet opportunity with athletes and much more fun!

    Team USA’s first featured game of the 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown is against Japan at 10 a.m. Central time, which finished 9th place at the 2018 IWBF World Championships. The U.S. has a perfect 9-0 record against Japan in IWBF and Paralympic competitions. A recent meeting of these two teams was the 2010 IWBF World Championships, where the U.S. won 89-46.

    The U.S. will play their second featured game against European rival Spain at 1 p.m. Central time. This game is a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in which the Americans beat Spain 68-52.

    The remainder of the games for the 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown will be hosted on campus at University of Texas-Arlington. Please click here for a complete schedule of games for this event.

    The 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown will serve as a tune-up for Team USA for the 2019 ParaPan American Games scheduled from August 23 to September 1, 2019, in Lima, Peru. The 2019 ParaPan American Games are the qualifying event for Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

    Head Coach Ron Lykins will lead the team into action, assisted on the USA bench by Robb Taylor and Jon Sikora. Scott Meyer serves as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala filling the athletic trainer position. Assisting Valaca at the trainer position is Jeremy Johnson.

    The 12 members of the Toyota Team USA Men’s Senior National Team include Brian Bell, John Boie, Aaron Gouge, Trevon Jenifer, Matt Lesperance, Ryan Neiswender, Mike Paye, Jorge Sanchez, Steve Serio, Matt Scott, Josh Turek, and Jake Williams.

    The NWBA invites you to attend this unique opportunity to watch some of the best players in our sport compete on U.S. soil and in a ‘showcased’ fashion courtesy of the support from Toyota. Please feel free to spread the word regarding the featured games using the flyer below as we hope to ‘pack the gym’ to cheer on Team USA.

    Follow 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown news on facebook.com/NWBA70, twitter.com/nwba, and instagram.com/nwba.

    About the NWBA

    Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball in the United States. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) is comprised of over 200 wheelchair basketball teams across twenty-two conferences. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of eight divisions including:  Division I, Division II, Division III, Women’s Division, Intercollegiate Men’s Division and Intercollegiate Women’s Division and Junior Division.

    As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the NWBA is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.

    For further information about the NWBA, go to the official website www.nwba.org

     

     

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