Paralympic basketball legend Frank Ponta passes away

Paralympic basketball legend Frank Ponta passes away

Basketball Australia offer their condolences to the family and friends of Paralympic legend Frank Ponta, 75, widely considered the father figure of the Australian wheelchair basketball program, who passed away overnight.

Ponta represented Australia in five Paralympic Games, competing in swimming, athletics and fencing, as well as wheelchair basketball, where he is recognised as one of the sports greatest ever players.

The ‘Frank Ponta Cup’, a five-team two-round Australian wheelchair basketball tournament named in his honour recently concluded its 2011 season.

Having just completed its second year, it is an exciting addition to the Australian wheelchair basketball calendar and serves many purposes in the wheelchair basketball landscape.

Ponta led the wheelchair sports movement in his home state of Western Australia and remained heavily involved in wheelchair sport, even after suffering a stroke in 2009.

Australian Paralympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Jason Hellwig said Ponta’s contribution to Australian Paralympic sport is unrivalled.

“Frank Ponta was one of the true legends of Australian sport. He was a first-class athlete in a time where sport for people with disabilities was almost unheard of, and his life contribution to the development of the movement gives us much to be thankful for today,” said Hellwig.

“Without people like Frank in the early years of Paralympic sport, Australia wouldn’t be in the position it is today as one of the best Paralympic nations in the world.

“He was a larrikin and a great bloke who represented everything great about being Australian and he will be terribly missed by all within the Paralympic community.”