Jocelyn Neumueller competed in Rio last year. (Supplied: West Lakes Canoe Club)
“We were at training when we got the call that we’d been approved to get back in the league, so we pretty much finished up training then and there and did some celebrating,” captain Adam Roocke said.”We’ve got plenty of money for this season now, and we’ve knocked off a fair chunk of next season [costs] as well, so with some additional fundraising this year we will hopefully secure enough for two seasons.”The 2017 season will open in Wollongong, as the teams converge for several games, and their 18-game season has several such rounds because it helps minimise travel and other team expenses.The Thunder captain said the Adelaide team was raring to get on the court.”There’s four players that have previously played for the Adelaide Thunder and it means so much to us,” Roocke said.”We’re all really keen now. Thunder’s potential stars:Jay Dohnt: Paralympic swimmer who won bronze in Beijing in 2008Henry de Cure: Tennis professional since 2007, with career-high rankings of 55 in singles and 36 in doublesJocelyn Neumueller: Paralympic canoeist who competed at Rio in 2016
The Adelaide Thunder had long been trying to raise $40,000 it needed to play in the competition.After success in the 1980s and 1990s, it was forced out of the national league in 2013 because of a funding cut.At a function last year, former Adelaide Oval grounds keeper Les Burdett was introduced to Paralympic swimmer-turned-basketballer Jay Dohnt.At 13, Dohnt was diagnosed with meningococcal disease and spent months in intensive care, eventually needing some of his limbs amputated.The Beijing swimming bronze medallist and London Paralympian impressed Burdett with his positive attitude to adversity and sold him on the idea of helping the Thunder return to the national competition.”I was just so impressed [with] the way he’s fronted up to life with it and his overall attitude to life,” Burdett said.”There’s lesser guys who complain about little ailments and you’ve got this kid that’s struggling to a big degree on the challenges of life and he just takes it on the chin.”
Henry de Cure has been a tennis circuit professional since 2007. We’re champing at the bit to get back on the court.” A chance meeting has led to funding for a South Australian team to return to the national wheelchair basketball competition. (Supplied: Tennis Australia)
Burdett is a member and ambassador for Adelaide’s West End Community Fund which uses public donations to back community causes.”The Thunder had half the money and Jay gave me a figure of what he was looking for, so I took Jay’s story back to my board and talked about the character of this young man and what he was representing,” Burdett said.”It was unanimous around the board table that we would try to support him and the team.”At least we’ve got them going and next year is another year.”Dohnt plays college basketball with the University of Texas but has promised to be back in Adelaide before the national wheelchair basketball league season starts in May.Thunder well placed for two seasonsWith the West End donation and money from an anonymous donor, the team is now set for the season ahead.
Jay Dohnt will return from playing in the US for the Adelaide Thunder’s coming season. (Facebook: Movin’ Mavs)
By Loukas Founten
March 21, 2017 15:22:05