COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - By now, all of you have heard the news about the status of wheelchair basketball for the Tokyo and Paris Paralympic Games. Click on the following links to view the statements: (IPC Link) and (IWBF Link).
The NWBA is proud of its international success and grateful for a dedicated group of athletes who deliver that success. We will do everything that we can to support our athletes who have been preparing for Tokyo over the last several years.
This eligibility debate does not apply at all to our NWBA League play. More specifically, if you are not in the High Performance (National Team) Pool, there is no action required on your part. The NWBA is a self-governed organization, which has eligibility requirements in its By-Laws. That means our membership votes to determine eligibility requirements for the NWBA.
NWBA leadership understands the importance of compliance with our key partners. We will continue to ensure our organization and our athletes are in compliance with IWBF and IPC standards, including eligibility. We appreciate the ongoing support of the USOPC in our efforts to build the NWBA’s capability while delivering success on the international stage.
We are confident that the IWBF and the IPC will work towards a practical solution that ensures wheelchair basketball is a part of the program in Tokyo, in Paris and beyond. We have already engaged in outreach to various parties to begin the steps in our planning process. This will ensure the NWBA High Performance Athletes have taken all required steps in a proactive fashion.
Two-time U.S. Paralympic medalist Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, has been voted in by his peers to represent the National Wheelchair Basketball Association on the USOC Athletes’ Advisory Council. The NWBA conducted its election process following the approval of the new NWBA Bylaws.
Serio, 29 years old, will attend his first meeting the weekend of May 19. He came onto the international wheelchair basketball scene at 2006 World Championships where team USA won a silver medal. His resume at IWBF events is impressive winning nine medals at senior caliber events (Paralympics; World Championships and Para Pan Am Games). In total, Serio has represented the United States at all major competitions, including three Paralympic Games, four Para Pan Am Games, three World Championships and two U23 World Championships.
The USOC Athletes’ Advisory Council is responsible for broadening communication between the United States Olympic Committee and active athletes, and serves as a source of input and advice to the USOC board of directors. The AAC consists of at least one athlete from each National Governing Body (NGB) which the United States is represented at the Olympic and Pan American Games, eight athletes representing the Paralympic Sport Organizations or NGBs designated to govern a Paralympic sport, and six athletes elected by the AAC to serve at-large, including a chair and two vice chairs.
Ryan Neiswender of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, will serve at the alternate. Neiswender was a member of the 2013 America’s Zonal Qualifier team that won gold. He also was a player on the men’s wheelchair basketball team at the University of Illinois.