Luke “Popes” Pople won a gold medal for Australia in 3×3 basketball at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Luke, who hails from Wollongong, was born with spina bifida and started using a wheelchair from the age of eight. When he was 13 he was approached at a shopping center by Eino Okkonen, the founder of the Wollongong Roller Hawks, to come and try wheelchair basketball.
From there he progressed through the NSW juniors and made his junior international debut in 2013 when he was member of the Australian U23 team that won bronze at the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Under 23 World Championships. The following year he made his senior team debut.
At the 2014 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in South Korea, Luke and the Australian Rollers defeated the USA to win gold. Luke bought home another medal at the following World Championships in 2018 after the Australians defeated Iran in the bronze medal match.
In 2019, Luke and his Australian Rollers Team Mates claimed gold at the 2019 Asia-Oceania Championships, qualifying Australia for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Unfortunately he missed selection to the Australian Olympic Team.
Luke plays for the Wollongong Roller Hawks in the National Wheelchair Basketball League and has played three seasons in Europe, two years in Porto Torres in Italy and one in Koln, Germany. He loves being part being part of a team and enjoys the competitiveness of the game. He considers being away from his friends and family one of the biggest challenges when practising the sport all around the world.
The Roller forms part of a 16-strong basketball squad that will represent Australia at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in the inaugural 3×3 basketball format across both wheelchair and able-bodied men’s and women’s competitions.