City rebounds for top award
WHEN the 2011 flood swamped Ipswich basketball stadium along with much of the city, it tested everyone's character.
To the credit of so many people, Ipswich has recovered through its trademark fighting spirit.
That was highlighted with the Ipswich Basketball Association being named Queensland's top association at last weekend's annual Basketball Queensland awards in Brisbane.
For association president Neil Coupland and his hard-working committee, it was a richly deserved honour.
However, Coupland was eager to congratulate everyone who helped Ipswich basketball, including the volunteers and husbands and wives who came together after the flood hit.
"It's been a rollercoaster ride," Coupland said.
"But we're almost at the top of our game at the moment. We've just got to keep there now.
"Everybody was focusing on the devastation of the flood but you've also got to look at the positive side.
"These floods galvanised communities, they brought people together, clubs and that.
"We did see the heartbreak but a real positive has come out of the whole thing as well.
"It's all thanks to the people who helped out."
Coupland collected Queensland's most prestigious basketball award at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on behalf of Ipswich.
Other Ipswich representatives at the function included Andrew Dore, Kevin Norrey, Alan Basford, Pat Ralph, Neil McCoy and Marney Lee.
Coupland said the massive flood recovery effort was part of the reason Ipswich Basketball won.
Just 93 days after the stadium was inundated by floodwaters, Ipswich Basketball hosted the state under-14 girls' championships.
Coupland, who has been association president for five years, said other factors in Ipswich's state award included junior team successes and a growth in membership.
"It's a long time coming," Coupland said of the city's achievement, believed to be the first time Ipswich has won.
"It's one of our goals from years ago - to be number one.
"I think it's the culmination of several years worth of work. But it all culminated with the floods, being able to get it all back together.
"We had the (state) championships and got it all sorted.
"It's a tribute to everybody from Ipswich basketball over a period of several years. All of us trying to strive to make the place a lot better.
"The floods were a big part of what happened and also our success this year on the courts with our juniors.
"The planets all lined up well for us this year."
With Ipswich Force teams also in the hunt for Queensland Basketball League finals this season, Coupland said the future looked bright for the sport.