How wheelchair basketball changed these women’s lives

When the Cambodian women’s wheelchair basketball team headed to their first major international competition, they found wins off the court.

In a buzzing stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Sieng Sokchan clenched her fists and waited anxiously for the announcement she’d been working toward for years: “Ladies and gentlemen, the women’s wheelchair basketball teams that will participate in the 2018 Asia Para Games are China, Japan, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, and Cambodia.”

Sieng hugged and congratulated her teammates, who were seated next to her in wheelchairs, all wearing basketball shirts in blue and red—the colors of the Cambodian flag. In seven months, they would travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, to represent their country at the Asia Para Games, where nearly 3,000 athletes from 43 nations would compete in 18 sports.

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