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To mark International Day of People with Disability, rollerhawks.com.au decided to catch up with two of our favourite people with a disability who right now are international. 


 Hannah Dodd and Steve Elliott are plying their trade for RB Zwickau in the top division of the Bundesliga in Germany.

 Hannah Steve Germany

Photo Credit: Bert Harzer / RB Zwickau


As their base on the Sunshine Coast enjoys 30 degree days, last week Zwickau had its first snow for the winter.


“The weather has been really good until last week,” says Elliott.


“Now it’s snowing and not getting up into the positive on most days.”


Not unexpected but also not ideal if you're in a wheelchair.


“We’ve been told it gets worse,” says Dodd.


“But they are pretty efficient at managing it. Most of the sidewalks and roads are cleared or salted. We’re in the process of getting a windscreen cover for the car but right now our teammate does the ice scraping most days.”


It’s their second overseas stint after playing in Italy last season.

 Hannah German Shot

Photo Credit: Bert Harzer / RB Zwickau


“The season has been a bit rough but that was to be expected with the side coming up from Div 2 and some of the guys are young and inexperienced and haven’t played at this level before,” says Dodd.


“We’re slowly improving and hoping we can put in a stronger second half of the season.” 


Zwickau is located in the east of the country and is best known for its long automotive history. A fact not lost on Hannah who together with Steve, visited a local car museum not long after arriving, one of the few non-basketball outings they've had.


“As someone who knows nothing about cars it was really interesting to see the history and the stories behind the cars and how the industry affected the town.”


Her focus has been firmly on basketball.


“Just playing and training at the moment. We played a pre-season comp in Poland but other than that we've just been traveling in Germany to compete.”


“We are living in an apartment building in town with most of the team here as well. We are on court 5-6 days a week. Gym twice a week. Games on the weekend - we alternate home and away games.” 


Playing in the German league is definitely a step up from their time in Italy.


“The competition is tough, the German league is one of the best in the world and you’re playing against Paralympians or national team members every game.” 


“It’s more professional here in Germany. We have our own apartment, there’s more training, more off court support for physio and medical. All the staff and support crew are super friendly, as are the players and everyone just kind of helps everyone out.”

 Steve Germany

Photo Credit: Bert Harzer / RB Zwickau


Elliott is also relishing his time in Zwickau.


“Loving the German league.  It allows us to have a great training and playing environment all year round.  With a high level of players and playing a different style than I’m used to,” says Elliott.


“It’s definitely a bit surreal and we are very lucky to be in a position to be able to split our year between here and home and play year round,” adds Dodd.


The season will break on the 16th of December with Dodd and Elliott hoping to explore a little, but holiday indulgence is off the Christmas list with Dodd set for the Asia Oceania Qualifiers from January 12th to make it through to the 2024 Paris Paralympics. The Gliders finished sixth at this year's World Championships but will be a retooled side following the retirements of Amber Merritt and Georgia Inglis.


“I think we surprised ourselves and others with how well we performed at the Worlds. We will try to keep that momentum and positive feeling going into Thailand.”


“Losing Amber and Georgia right before qualifiers is a massive blow to our team but it also gives some of the newer girls a chance to step up and develop. AOZ will definitely be a challenge but I think we can put up a good fight.”


The side will be boosted by the return of Shelley Matheson (nee Chapman) who is back after time away raising a family. Matheson is a three-time Paralympian who won silver in Athens and London and bronze in Beijing.


“'Chaps' was around when I first came into the squad in 2014 and will be a big help bringing through our new and less experienced players and taking some of the pressure off them so they can develop at their own pace.”


The IWBF Asia Oceania Zone will host their Zonal Championship the 2024 Asia Oceania Championship in Bangkok, Thailand between 12 – 20 January 2024. The winning team from both the men’s and women’s competitions will earn a ticket to the Paris 2024 Paralympics Games.


Second and third place in the women’s competition will earn a place in the 2024 IWBF Women’s Repechage in Osaka, Japan, whilst second place in the men’s competition will earn a place at the 2024 IWBF Men’s Repechage in Antibes, France.