Nigel Walker, WRU Acting CEO said, “The success of the past 12 months is testament to the collaboration between GBWR, DSW and the WRU, and our singular goal to engage people in wheelchair rugby in Wales. Hosting the European Championship, here at Principality Stadium was the perfect opportunity to launch an intensive programme of qualifying new L1 coaches, community activation and investing in the production of an additional 20 hybrid rugby wheelchairs to bring our total to 30, giving full coverage to Wales.
“Together, with additional support of the regional foundations, in 12 months we were able to engage over 7,000 children, teenagers and adults of all ages in wheelchair rugby, which is a phenomenal achievement. There is no better springboard on which to formalise a collaboration and our commitment to developing the sport in Wales.
“The partnership will give us a unique opportunity to support the development of a Paralympic pathway for wheelchair rugby in Wales. The more people we can engage in it, the more opportunity GBWR will have to develop those players into wheelchair rugby athletes of the future; and I can’t think of a better way to build on the legacy that’s been started.”
Jason Brisbane, CEO GB Wheelchair Rugby adds, “GBWR are thrilled to announce our exciting 5-year collaboration with Disability Sport Wales and Welsh Rugby Union, aimed at fostering the growth and development of wheelchair rugby in Wales. This partnership represents a remarkable opportunity to unite our shared passion for inclusivity, sportsmanship, and the transformative power of wheelchair rugby.
“Together, we will work to create a thriving environment where athletes of all abilities can excel, showcasing the immense potential of wheelchair rugby and inspiring a new generation of players in Wales. We believe that through this collaboration, we can truly change lives, break barriers, and redefine what’s possible in the world of disability sport”.
The five year partnership will see GBWR deliver biannual Level 2 wheelchair rugby coaching in Wales, previously coaches in Wales would be required to travel to England or other parts of the UK access this level of training. The WRU will continue to deliver Level 1 wheelchair rugby coaching across Wales and support the regional foundations to help grow the youth and senior formats of wheelchair rugby in their regions.
Together GBWR, DSW and WRU will tackle player identification through Talent ID days, creating playing opportunities and a tangible pathway for future athletes. The Talent ID days start from Saturday 8th July 2023 and will be an essential steps to identifying and developing the next generation of Welsh female and male wheelchair rugby heroes.
Fiona Reid, CEO Disability Sport Wales says, “Disability Sport Wales have really valued the productive and collaborative relationship we have had with Welsh Rugby Union and Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby for many years, and it is really exciting to have the opportunity to bring that further to life through the announcement of this three-way partnership agreement.
“The European Wheelchair Rugby Championships hosted in Cardiff at the Principality Stadium this May really showcased the power, excitement and tactical drama that the sport brings, and located it within a Nation who are passionate about rugby and in such an iconic stadium.
“DSW are delighted to continue to work with the WRU and GBWR to ensure that pathways for wheelchair rugby players are strengthened, that Welsh players are inspired to progress into GB pathways, and that wheelchair rugby is profiled to people who may not have known it was available. The event was incredible and the opportunity to activate its legacy together is superb.”
For more information on upcoming GBWR Talent ID days or to register please click here: https://gbwr.org.uk/wales-to-world-stage/