By GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG – UNITED STATES-based South African wheelchair basketball under 23 Captain, Steven Walgenbach believes his move to the United States will take his game to another level.
The Limpopo-born Paralympian (19), who captains the Under 23 national side, recently secured a lucrative scholarship in the United States.
Since his move to the University of Texas beginning of August, he has been hard at work juggling between computer science studies and basketball.
“Two days after I arrived in Texas, we started training for 7 hours a day, for the next two weeks, everyday. The level of wheelchair basketball here is very intense here,” said Walgenbach .
Walgenbach is training with UT Arlington’s Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team, which has won seven national championships.
“My studies have kicked off. The university is very accommodating in allowing me to adjust my class times so that they don’t clash with my training times. They have a rich history of leading the nation in intercollegiate wheelchair basketball, exemplified by offering full athletic scholarships to team players,” he added.
Among his teammates were in the intercollegiate champion team of 2016 while some were members of the female Paralympic basketball team that won gold in Rio, Brazil in 2016.
With so much talent around him and intensity training Walgenbach is on the way to be a world-class athlete.
“I am learning a lot here from all these great players. My body is not used to training so much yet but it will be eventually,” he said.
He conceded to feeling homesick at times but was determined to make the most of hs new sorroundings.
“I need to shop for all my things and cook my meals. Basically, it’s a student’s life. My mom did setup my apartment for me before she left with the necessary furniture and all the other necessities” he adds
He has been well received.
“The people here are very accommodating. There are so many opportunities here, not just in sport but in business as well.”