West Hill athlete excels in Paralympic Games

West Hill resident Adam Lancia

West Hill resident Adam Lancia says he wants to go to his second Paralympic Games this year.
Adam Lancia

Adam Lancia’s passion for his sport is as strong as ever, and he’s hoping that will help lead him to Beijing for the Paralympic Games.

The local resident has been on the men’s national wheelchair basketball team since 2002 and he wants a shot at his second world games.

“There’s something about the sport that reeled me in from the first, and had its hooks in me since then, and I don’t want to get its hooks out,” Lancia says. “There are very few things I sacrifice for the way I sacrifice for basketball.”

Lancia has been playing wheelchair basketball since he was nine when a man named Archie Allison first introduced him to Variety Village, a recreation centre in Scarborough that offers track, swimming, basketball, and other sports for children with disabilities.

Lancia now lives in West Hill with his family when he’s not travelling to basketball games and training camps. With the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games around the corner, Lancia has to split his time between school, his part-time job and basketball training.

“It’s kind of a juggling act,” Lancia says. “There’s school somewhere in there with all the training, and then your real life.”

Besides the busy schedule, one of the biggest challenges in wheelchair basketball, Lancia says, is that experience in the sport counts for double or triple than in regular sports. He says that when compared to everyday basketball, there is a lot more strategy involved, especially when it comes to positioning the wheelchair.

“You don’t have lateral wheels, and you have very limited vertical movement. So, you can’t just rely on your athletic ability. When you get stuck behind somebody, you’ve got to be faster and smarter than them,” he says.

Lancia says he often has to sacrifice his time with his family and girlfriend for basketball, but at the same time, he gets to spend a lot of time with his teammates.

Patrick Anderson, one of Lancia’s teammates, says they’re all very close.

“It’s kind of like we’re more family than friends,” says Anderson. “We have chemistry. We have been playing for a very long time, so there’s a comfort level on the court.”

Mike Frogley, the head coach for the Men’s National Team since 1998, has also formed a strong bond with his team.

“I’m pretty close to them. I don’t look at them as just basketball players,” says Frogley. “I want to see them maximize all their potential as a person, as a student, and as an athlete.”

With the 2008 Paralympics approaching, Lancia and Anderson both feel confident about the games to come.

“We’re two-time defending paralympic champions and defending world champions at the moment, so we’re ranked number one no matter which way you look at it. We’re not over-confident, but definitely confident in being able to win if we play the way we know how to play,” Lancia says.