Coach of the U.S. National Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Team Trooper Johnson and coach of Miami Heat Wheels – the 2015 National Championship winner team, Parnes Cartwright spent a busy week in Tyumen, West Siberia, Russia October 20-25 as part of the Sports Diplomacy Program of the U.S. Department of State. Johnson and Cartwright were invited as Honorary Guests to take part in the Tyumen Wheelchair Basketball Open Cup in which ten teams from all over Russia competed. The American coaches held workshops and copy-book practices with all of the participating athletes, including the special sessions with the host team Chance, Tyumen.
Besides sports coaching events, the U.S. Sports Envoys met with various community groups, including a motivational presentation for over 200 children with disabilities and their parents at the Open Doors event at the Youth Olympic Sports School meeting with patients of the Taraskul Regional Rehabilitation Center for Spinal Cord Dysfunctions, a WB workshop for able-bodied students of Tyumen School #48 and disadvantaged children warded by Maria Center for Social Support non-profit. The program ended with an emotional and inspiring meeting of the coaches with patients of Rodnik Rehabilitation Center for Children with Disabilities. The coaches were impressed at the level of inclusive and general sports development in Tyumen region. ‘We are here not only to share experience, we learn a lot ourselves,” said American coaches praising the great organizational work an effective collaboration between the Tyumen regional and municipal governments, the Regional Organization for People with Disabilities, and Paralympic Sports Federation.
“Sports unite us despite any limitations or borders, gives us strength, inspiration and joy of life,’ was the main message by Trooper Johnson and Parnes Cartwright to their Russian audiences.