Gillian Gover tells us about the benefits of Gières basketball club, which is bringing the European wheelchair basketball cup to the Grenoble area this March.
Grenoble Life: Gières basketball club is hosting a qualifying round for the European wheelchair basketball cup. For those who don’t know about tournament, tell us about it.
Gillian Gover: The European cup is run by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation and has three leagues. Gières is hosting one of four qualifying groups for the second league. All the group rounds take place between March 7th and 10th, and the other three groups are being hosted in Spain, Switzerland and Germany. The winner from each group will compete in the finals, taking place in either Italy or Spain in the Spring. The runners-up in each group will also go through to play-offs.
GL: And the event is being organised in conjunction with the Meylan-Grenoble wheelchair basketball team. How good are they?
Gillian: They’re a good team and definitely in with a chance of qualifying, as are the Oldham Owls from Great Britain and Unipol Briantea 84 from Italy. The Oldham Owls hold the higher ranking but the French and Italian teams aren’t far behind. Meylan-Grenoble will face Briantea 84 in the last match of the group which should keep the interest going right the way through!
GL: Which other nations will be participating in the tournament?
Gillian: In this group, we’ll be hosting another French team from Lannion in Brittany, the British and Italian teams mentioned above, as well as a Russian team. However, teams from all over Europe compete in the cup: Spain, Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal and many other countries.
GL: Will the success of last year’s Paralympic Games encourage more people to attend this year?
Gillian: We certainly hope so! This is the third year that Gières has hosted a qualifying round and we’re going from strength to strength. UK coverage of the Paralympic Games was pretty extensive and we hope that this will have raised the sport’s profile among the local Anglophone community in particular. It would be great to see people come out and cheer on the Oldham Owls or the local Meylan-Grenoble team.
GL: When does the event take place and how can we get tickets?
Gillian: Matches take place on Friday March 8 and Saturday March 9. The full schedule is available on the Gières club web site. Tickets can be purchased on the door. Entrance is 3 euros for one day, or 5 euros for the full two days. The proceeds will go towards the Meylan-Grenoble wheelchair basketball team. During the event, we’ll also be holding a tombola to contribute towards travel costs if the Meylan-Grenoble team qualify for the finals.
The matches will be held at the gymnasium at Gières Plaine des Sports which is easily accessible on the tram, or train. Parking is also available at the Parking Relais TAG.
GL: As a member of Gières basketball club, tell us about the benefits. How can we find out more?
Gillian: There are a lot of great basketball teams locally. However, the club in Gières stands out for me as the current leadership really do prioritize a family atmosphere and convivialité, as the French say, rather than results. They welcome everybody to the club, regardless of their level of basketball. That attitude is reflected in member numbers: it’s the fourth largest club in Isère, out of about 100 clubs. And it also means that teams are doing better and better in terms of results. As members tend to stay with the club for a long time, the teams learn to work together and they are steadily moving up the league tables.
There are a number of member benefits in terms of reductions at local businesses etc. But I think the main reason to join is for the atmosphere and friendly attitude. There are teams at every level from age five up, as well as people who play for fun. And this year, the club have opened a new section for mums and dads of children who play – or anyone else who hasn’t played much basketball – to learn the basics and enjoy themselves.
More information is available on the web site or on basket.gieres(at)free.fr. And of course, I’m happy for English speakers to contact me: gillian.gover(at)gmail.com