People who go to a wheelchair basketball game for the first time are surprised. The speed of the transitions, the collisions between chairs and the quality of many of its players are not found in the collective imagination. It is still a world from which we live too far away. And that with the Adein Tenerife, on the Island, we have a representative of category.
At the end of last year, the CB Canarias Foundation reached an agreement with the Inclusive Sports Association (ADEIN) Tenerife to “work together on several fronts with the aim of promoting adapted sports and sports practice for people with physical disabilities”. That agreement included sponsorship of the team, which was renamed Adein Tenerife Fundación CB Canarias.
Adein arose after the disappearance of the mythical Ademi for economic reasons and a group of adapted basketball players did not want the practice of this sport to disappear from the Island, according to Alejandro Mendoza, a player from Adein: “Some players from that team founded the new club in 2020, precisely, because they believed that it was very necessary for wheelchair basketball to have a place in Tenerife”.
After getting started, the option came up to look for “a larger organization” that would “give visibility” to their work. It was then that CB Canarias arrived.
A key meeting
José Carlos Hernández Rizo is patron of the Aurinegra Foundation. Together with Santiago Cacho, president, he is one of the people who has pushed the most together with Adein to reach the current situation: the team plays in the Second Division, but they will compete for promotion in the phase that will be played soon: “Ana, the president of the club, met with Félix Hernández, with Cacho and with me. They explained the issue to us and, some time later, the conditions were given to reach an agreement. In that meeting we were fascinated by his way of talking about the project, that illusion…”.
Ana Magali Rodríguez explained her need to find support and continue to grow as a club and the CB Canarias Foundation thought beyond Adein’s first team: “We believe that it is very important that they have a youth system. That boys and girls can get closer to adapted basketball so that, when some of the current players, already older, stop practicing the sport, it is not lost ”.
As a result of this idea came the agreement between the CEIP Camino la Villa and the CB Canarias Foundation so that in this center, specialized in motor disabilities, it can even have an adapted basketball school: “We also have an agreement with the La Salle Santa Cruz school with the same objective: we want to bring adapted basketball to more schools and municipalities.”
Javier Fernández is director of the portal basketinsular.net, without a doubt, the means of communication that most closely follows the day-to-day activities of the Adein Tenerife Fundación CB Canarias. He has witnessed the evolution of the club: “This season the club has taken a very important step forward. Thanks to the support of the CB Canarias Foundation, especially from the hand of Santiago Cacho and José Carlos Hernández Rizo, because they have been concerned and busy that the steps that have been taken have been the correct ones, being next to the team”.
Fernández believes that “beyond the good results on the field” the most important thing is “that the Foundation wants the project to go beyond having a first team, but much more with the creation of a youth system”.
“In terms of sports, Alejandro Mendoza has arrived, one of the best players not only in the Second Division, but also in the first. We must add veteran players like Ramón Chinea, Tino Padrón, Jonay Ramallo…”, indicates Fernández.
Alejandro Mendoza acknowledges that one of the keys on the court is that the squad “has a better understanding of basketball, the way to play in the most optimal way”, which explains the 8-1 balance they have: “We are in a group to eight before playing a Final Four to be able to ascend to First Division, the category just below División de Honor. We have options. We have gone from not having many victories to being first”.
The challenge of the public
Javier Fernández emphasizes that the fans are with the Adein Tenerife Fundación CB Canarias: “At home there has been a spectacular atmosphere. There has been a very good influx of spectators to the Sergio Rodríguez pavilion, which can accommodate a Second Division team, but if it is promoted, perhaps the seating area would have to be adapted because it has become too small in some games. There are fans and a desire for wheelchair basketball”.
Fernández gives a piece of information: in some matches up to 300 spectators have attended “many more than in matches of the Women’s Challenge League or EBA League” which shows that “Adein Tenerife is responding”.
José Carlos Hernández Rizo defends that this influx of spectators does not stop, that little by little it continues to grow, for this reason he recalls the need to “generate that youth academy” to be able to “technify young players” so that the Adein Tenerife Fundación CB Canarias, the same one that leads the Second Division of national wheelchair basketball, also has a solid foundation.