Erica Gavel Named to International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Athlete Steering Committee

Canadian Women’s National Team player Erica Gavel has been appointed to represent the Americas Zone on the new International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Athlete Steering Committee.

The goal of the Athlete Steering Committee is to establish the parameters for an elected IWBF Athlete Commission. The committee will be to guide IWBF’s Commission for Legal Matters & Eligibility (CLME) in establishing and institutionalizing a common voice for IWBF athletes in the governance of the sport.

Ella Sabljak (Australia), Alhassan Sedky (Egypt), and Carina De Rooij (Netherlands) are joining Gavel on the Athlete Steering Committee as representatives of the remaining IWBF zones.

Gavel has been playing wheelchair basketball since 2012, following a serious knee injury which forced her to retire from running basketball. She made her debut for Canada in 2015 at the Parapan American Games in Toronto and has competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and the 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg.

Off court, Gavel has been studying exercise physiology for the last three years, completing a master of science at the University of Toronto, and is currently undertaking a doctor of philosophy in the same subject. She is looking forward to the new challenge of being part of this next step for IWBF.

“To be a part of the IWBF’s first ever Steering Committee is a tremendous honour and privilege,” said Gavel. “To have an Athlete Steering Committee is pertinent when making decisions as they directly impact the athletes. I look forward to working with the IWBF to help ensure each athlete has the best experience they rightfully deserve.”

Already an active athlete representative on the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Council and Paralympic Performance and Games Committee, as well as being part of the Sport Science and Research Working Group for the International Paralympic Committee, Gavel is well versed in representing her fellow athletes views and hopes to bring that knowledge and experience to the Athlete Steering Committee.

“Between my athlete representation experience with the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the International Paralympic Committee, I hope to bring a diverse perspective which focuses on athlete-centred decisions and ways to help the IWBF integrate those perspectives from an operational and organisation point of view.

“I foresee the Athlete Steering Committee assisting IWBF in ways that may have been overlooked. For example, when implementing a new policy, the direct impact on athletes may be missed if information is only being passed among administrators. Personally, I see this committee as being nothing but beneficial for IWBF.”

Still passionate about both basketball and wheelchair basketball, Gavel is keen for wheelchair basketball to establish itself on the world stage.

“In the future, I hope to see wheelchair basketball recognized the same way able-bodied basketball is. While the Paralympic Movement is at an all-time high right now, there is still a long way to go. I hope we can keep pushing the envelope and make wheelchair basketball one of the most popular sports in the world, from both an able-bodied and Paralympic sport standpoint.”

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