GB Men’s Head Coach Haj Bhania recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours
Last weekend, the worldwide wheelchair basketball family celebrated the news that GB Men’s Head Coach, Haj Bhania is to receive an OBE for services to the sport.
A well respected figure across Paralympic and Grassroots sport, Haj has dedicated over twenty years’ service to wheelchair basketball as both a volunteer coach and as a coach within the GB Performance Programme.
As a GB Coach Haj has consistently brought medal glory home to Great Britain – including Paralympic, European and World Championship podium positions. His unique approach to coaching has drawn world-wide attention to the new generation of player being nurtured under his direction.
Haj began his wheelchair basketball coaching journey within Aces Wheelchair Basketball Club where he credits excellent mentors as being the main reason for his career success. His international coaching career began on a voluntary basis in 1997 when he was appointed Assistant Coach to the GB Junior men at the inaugural Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in 1997 in Canada. He continued in this voluntary role for the next 10 years, experiencing success with the squad and supporting player progression into the senior team.
Influential in the development of each of the GB squads Haj was appointed full-time Head Coach of the GB Juniors in 2008, whilst simultaneously taking up the post of GB Senior Women’s Assistant Coach the same year. The following year his progression into coaching of the senior squads began with his appointment to GB Men’s Assistant Coach.
Haj’s coaching style enables greater sharing and collaboration with the athletes, allowing them to contribute and take ownership of their own and the team’s development.
Haj is a qualified wheelchair basketball coach, tutor and also a basketball coach. He has played a key role in up-skilling coaches on the pathway, supporting the development and delivery of the Grade 3. Haj has ensured that GB sessions are open to coaches within the sport to widen understanding and gives coaches the opportunity to ask questions to develop their own coaching practices.
He attends the BWB club conference every year and has committed to travelling around the UK delivering open sessions to participants at Regional Performance Centres in order to further develop coaches within the sport whilst connecting with people across the country.
On sharing the news of his OBE Haj expressed his gratitude to those who have supported his journey and commented:
“I always believe that the success of the GB Men’s Team and my success as a coach would not possible without the support of the many; the value of the unwavering support from friends and family cannot be underestimated.
“My entire aim as a coach is to enable the athletes to become the best in the world – we were successful at last year’s World Championships but the standard of play is always evolving and we need to constantly adapt to maintain our status as one of the best teams in the world.
“I enjoy being able to continue to deliver coaching workshops to our grassroots clubs and domestic team coaches. These individuals are responsible for nurturing our GB athletes of tomorrow – I was incredibly privileged to have excellent coaching mentors when I began my journey in wheelchair basketball – it is an honour now to pass this knowledge and support onto British Wheelchair Basketball’s network of coaches.
“Thank you to everyone for their very kind words and congratulations over the last few days, as I mentioned earlier this achievement has only been possible with your support”.