DAKAR (Senegal) – As the world celebrates International Left Handers Day, we take a keen look at a select group of left handed players shining at the ongoing FIBA Women’s AfroBasket at the Dakar Arena in the Senegalese capital.
Nigeria’s dependable forward Aisha Balarabe, who scored 14 points and picked six rebounds on Tuesday, celebrated the day in a special way as D’Tigress blew out neighbours Cameroon 106-39 to book their place in the Quarter-Finals.
“People say that when we left-handed people play, it is very difficult for the right-handed players to stop us and I think it is true because when I go left, there is nobody there,” Balarabe said.
“IT IS DEFINITELY AN ADVANTAGE. SOMETIMES, AS A LEFT-HANDED PLAYER, YOU TRY TO GO TO YOUR RIGHT AND THEN COME BACK TO THE LEFT AND THEY JUST CANNOT STOP YOU.”
The International Left Handers Day was founded by Dean R. Campbell and it has been celebrated on August 13 since 1976 world over.
The main objective of this day is to acknowledge the uniqueness of left-handed people in a positive way to overcome the norm in several societies that preach the unfortunate occurrence and unfair treatment of lefties that are viewed as unusual.
Statistics show that only 11% of the world’s population are left handed and this includes notable persons in society including former US President Barack Obama himself a basketball fan.
Malian shooting guard Rokia Doumbia told FIBA.basketball that, “People like it that I am left-handed and those around me use the term ‘leftie’ to describe me and other left-handed people. It differentiates us from other people. It is nothing bad.”
Nigeria’s Aisha Balabare
Doumbia resounds Balarabe’s message and adds that, “People are so used to defending on the right so when they give me the left thinking that it is my weakness, I take them on. It is definitely an advantage. Sometimes, as a left-handed player, you try to go to your right and then come back to the left and they just cannot stop you.”
Nigeria’s Sarah Imovbioh explained that sometimes she uses her right so as to confuse her opponents because then their scouting reports will read that she is right handed and yet really her strength is on the left.
The energetic 27-year old centre, who plies her trade in Hungary for Peac-Pecs and follows through with her left hand on the charity line said, “I use my right too when I am on court but for sure, I am strongest on my left. It feels good to be left-handed. It is advantageous in basketball.”
Senegalese point guard Mame Diodio Diouf admitted that being left-handed makes her feel very special and that in many ways gives her the confidence she needs on court.
Mame Diodio Diouf – Senegal
Tuesday, she played a key role especially on defence to help the home side qualify for the Quarter-Finals.
For the quartet, being left-handed helps them express themselves on court and ultimately helps them execute what they are told by their coaches because their markers and opponents act from a reflex point of view even when they are fed information that they are left-handed.
So because of this, they are always two steps ahead of everyone else and they do not apologise for this leverage.