In Yemen, women basketball players dribble against war and disability

Sanaa (AFP) - Long-sleeved jerseys and wheelchairs, Yemeni women compete on the floor of a basketball court during a championship in Sana'a for people with disabilities, particularly affected by the war devastating the country for over five years.

"If the Yemeni people suffer from the war, then the disabled people suffer twice as much," said Amal Hizam, herself in a wheelchair, who organized the local competition.

The war between government forces and Houthi rebels since 2014 has plunged Yemen, already the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world according to the UN.

Two years after an agreement concluded in December 2018 under the aegis of the United Nations, hopes for peace are evaporating, especially in Sana'a, in the hands of the rebels for more than six years.

In this context, sporting events for the disabled are "practically non-existent", explains Ms.Hizam, who is participating in this second edition of the wheelchair basketball tournament.

On the floor, nine teams compete, including five groups of women.Sportsmen dribble, pass the ball and wish to shine to be better accepted, they who are often seen as a burden in wartime.

The players of the defending champion team wear an orange jersey with the slogan "Al-Erada" ("the will" in Arabic), while their opponents, in black, brandish "Al-Mostaqbal" ("the future") ).

Abdou Mohammed Zayed, who coaches all the teams, deplores the lack of specialized basketball courts for the disabled.

One of the objectives of the project is "to offer social and moral support to people with disabilities and to enable them to show their abilities and creativity", he said.

Posted Date: 2020-12-17

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