Coast Spinners weave their magic
SUNSHINE Coast Spinners young guns Jake Fulwood and Steve Elliott have been endorsed as future Paralympians.
The pair is in Canberra this week training with the Australian Development Squad, giving them one foot in the door to the 2013 under-23 world championships.
Fulwood and Elliott, both 16, are already playing at a national senior level and have a good chance of being there when the under-23 Australian squad is trimmed from 20 to 12 sometime next year.
Last weekend at the University of the Sunshine Coast they were a part of the Queensland Rolling Thunder team, which took out the Sunshine Coast Spinners Tournament.
They have both made a good impression on national coaches as members of the Brisbane Spinning Bullets side, which competes in the National Wheelchair Basketball League.
While neither is in the frame for the London Paralympics, they will be seriously looked at for 2016 and 2020.
Tom Kyle, the Australian under-23 coach and Spinning Bullets assistant coach, said both had impressed with their commitment to the sport.
"They're absolutely on that pathway (to the Paralympics)," Kyle said.
"The first target for them is to make the squad for the under-23s (world championships). As part of that they'll start to get seen by overseas clubs and then the opportunity for them is to go on to university, and some of our players at the national level have gone on to university in the United States on a scholarship.
"Other players have gone on to play club basketball, paid as professional players, in Europe. There's a good pathway there for them."
Fulwood, from Mooloolah, was born with spina bifida and started playing wheelchair basketball when he was 10. He has made every junior state team since he was 11.
Gympie-based Elliott tried his hand at the sport only three years ago after he lost the use of his legs as the result of a sudden onset of transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder.
Before then, Elliott was a keen rugby league player.
Kyle said both had shown great determination to travel to and from Brisbane to compete for the Spinning Bullets.