The Adelaide Thunder will be the proud owners of a Guinness World Record after the club’s players took part in a marathon game of basketball stretching over 32 hours at the weekend.
The wheelchair basketball side are one of the most successful in Australia. They have won six titles since the national league’s inception in 1988.
But the Thunder have not been able to field a team since 2014 due to a lack of funding – something the successful world record attempt was designed to change.
Disability Recreation and Sport South Australia [DRSSA] said $40,000 was needed for the Thunder to re-enter the national league. That comment inspired a strong reaction from team captain Adam Roocke.
Keen to do whatever was needed to reach the lofty fundraising target, Roocke, who broke his back in a 2003 motorcycle accident, set his sights on the world record for the longest game of wheelchair basketball.
The previous record was 27.5 hours.
The Thunder not only beat the record, they smashed it, with the marathon effort ending with a final score of 1956 to 1683.
“I’m very exhausted,” Roocke told The New Daily after the event.
“To be honest, I had my doubts that everyone would get through it.
“The eldest involved was 62 and the youngest was 17 but for everyone to stick it out for 32 hours, it’s an unbelievable effort. I tip my hat to everyone.
“There’s a feeling of accomplishment and hopefully, with the exposure this event has got, some businesses will look at us and see how dedicated we are and support us.
“We’re really hoping to get back in the national league – it’s tough for the guys who are really keen to compete.”
Players took a 10-minute break every two hours but Roocke, who said he got the idea from browsing Google, added that the game was played at a “reasonably intense speed” throughout.
The entire 32 hours of match play and scoring sheets will now be reviewed by Guinness, who are likely to confirm the Thunder’s record by the end of 2016.
A crowd of around 400 fans watched stages of the record bid.
‘It’s a good start’: DRSSA
The weekend’s match and prior donations raised around $10,000, DRSSA confirmed, and they are hopeful further contributions will follow as news of the Thunder’s record spreads.
“It’s a good start and the support was excellent,” DRSSA development officer Jacob Gracey told The New Daily.
“On donations, gold coin entry and the 400 raffle tickets we sold, we’re at around about $10,000.
“Our ultimate target is to raise $40,000, though. That was the main reason for doing the event.
“The players were amazing – even a few hours in, some players had blisters over their hands and everyone was sore but they kept pushing through and embraced the challenge.”
You can donate to the Thunder’s bid to re-enter the 2017 National Wheelchair Basketball League by clicking here.