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Wheelchair Sports South West celebrate arrival of basketball wheelchairs with WA government funding

Inclusive: Bunbury MLA Don Punch with Wheelchair Sports South West Inc president Neil Crombie and vice president Cory Crombie.
Inclusive: Bunbury MLA Don Punch with Wheelchair Sports South West Inc president Neil Crombie and vice president Cory Crombie.

Bunbury teenager Cory Crombie has turned a tragedy into a positive after forming the Wheelchair Sports South West Inc.

When Cory was 14-years-old he was an elite BMX rider for his age but had a accident while racing which left him paralysed from the waist down.

Being a natural competitor, Cory wanted to find a way to play sport again.

What he found was there was nothing available for people with a physical disability to play sport in the South West and barely in Perth.

"It was pretty tough coming from an elite level for my age to not even having a grass roots sport available," Cory said.

"It's a very different world having no beginner sport let alone an elite sport."

Cory's dad Neil Crombie said when they realised nothing was available, they had to do something.

"We didn't think it was right and you have to be the change you want to see," he said.

So Cory worked with his parents on forming the Wheelchair Sports South West Inc and approached Bunbury MLA Don Punch for support.

"I thought it was a great idea and I came down and had a go, Its such fun and give you a different perspective," Mr Punch said.

Mr Punch was able to secure $22,000 to the group which allowed them to purchase 12 basketball wheelchairs.

"I was aware there was a growing interest in how to grow inclusion, particularly with sport in the area," he said.

"So it was an easy decision to support the project."

Cory said now the allsports chairs have arrived they could set up a league and most importantly - compete.

"Sport gives me something to do, fun, social and I like seeing how far I can push things," he said.

Mr Crombie said they had now removed an extra barrier for people with a physical disability to play a sport.

"It opens up social inclusion which leads to a sense of belonging and sense of self worth," he said.

The South West Wheelchair Inc hope to be able to have a game once a week.

Mr Crombie wanted to thank Mr Punch for his support and the funding to enable this to happen.

When Mr Punch saw the wheelchairs for himself, he said it was the best part of his job.

"It is small steps like this that makes a big difference to people's lives," he said.

For more information, visit Wheelchair Sports South West Inc Facebook page.