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Trying to make the most of every opportunity to promote the sport, says Canada’s legend Anderson

By E247

One of the greatest wheelchair basketball players the sport has produced, Pattrick Anderson wants to use every opportunity to promote the sport and encourage players to work hard and play free.

“That’s what I have done my whole career. It’s not easy though,” said Anderson, the three-time Paralympic gold medallist who guided Canada into the quarter-finals at the ongoing IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 on Friday.

Canada defeated Brazil 69-53 in their last-16 match played in Court 1 of the World Trade Centre Halls. Colin Higgins top scored with 22 points. 

“Sometimes it feels like pressure to live up to the expectations of everyone; it gets harder and harder every year. But most of the time, I am grateful for the opportunities to meet people, encourage them work hard and play free.

“I like to be the ambassador of the sport; enjoy the lifestyle of being an athlete and trying to get better every day. I also wants these youngsters to get a taste of the medal rounds – quarter-finals, semi-finals – playing for a medal; something I took for granted when I was younger. The game is so much tougher now. So, I am here to give what I can; whether it’s starting or coming off the bench in a more supportive role,” said the charismatic 43-year-old from Edmonton, who was part of Canada team that took the gold in 2006 World Championships.

Apart from that, he has been represented Canada in 1998, 2002, 2018 World Championships and this year in Dubai.

Anderson, who joined the Canada national team in 1997 only to become one of the best in the world, highlighted the importance of the match against Brazil. 

“We lost that game (last-16) in the 2018 Worlds. It was probably the lowest point of my career. Here, we didn’t have anything to lose; we are not the favourites in the tournament. So, it’s an important win for us.

“Going forward we are excited now. Whoever we are playing next - if it’s the Dutch we have played them a number of times and we are very familiar with.”

The legend, who came out of retirement in 2011 after calling it quits following the 2008 Paralympic Games to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional musician, listed the “London 2012 Paralympics as favourite” among all his titles. 

“Now, I wasn’t to make the most of every opportunity. May be another Paralympic medal will be very special.”

Canada, which also has one silver and four bronze at the Worlds, will next take on Netherlands in the last-8 match on Friday.

Among the other teams who entered the quarter-finals were Italy, Iran, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, USA and Great Britain.

The hosts UAE finished their campaign losing to Germany 16-87.