Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby has today announced its team to compete in the GIO 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships being held in Sydney, Australia between 5-10 August. The team of 12 includes a balance of youth and experience with five athletes making their World Championship debuts and veteran Jonathan Coggan, from Chelmsford, competing for a record 4th time. Chris Ryan who plays for the London Wheelchair Rugby Club and lives in Welwyn Garden City continues as Captain with former Sheffield Fire Fighter Gavin Walker as Vice-Captain. Aaron Phipps from Southampton returns to the world stage for the first time since the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Since 2012 he has continued playing club rugby for Solent Sharks and in May 2016 climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in his wheelchair, reaching the summit on his knees! He returned to international rugby in January of this year and made his mark at the King Power Quad Nations in March.
GB Wheelchair Rugby which lost all of its UK Sport funding at the start of the Tokyo cycle is currently ranked 5th in the world and are the reigning European Champions. They have been drawn in Pool B for the championships with USA ranked No 2 and Canada No 3. France, Poland and Colombia make up the rest of the group. Pool A includes current World and Paralympic champions Australia, Paralympic bronze medallists Japan and Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and New Zealand. GB will be hoping to fight through for a place in the knockout stages and increase their world ranking.
David Pond, Chief Executive of Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, said: “This is an exciting team selection with a number of good ball-handlers and some strong strike lines. It’s ‘the Worlds’ so it’s a tough competition and we will need to be at our absolute best if we are to get through to the final stages. Preparation has been good and even though our limited budget has stopped us being able to play in the big pre-world tournaments, I believe in this team – we can do well!”
Head Coach Paul Shaw commented, “We’ve selected an exciting squad to take into the World Championships, I’m confident we can do something special.”
GB Wheelchair Rugby Team Selected for GIO 2018 World Championships
|Muhammad Islam||0.5||Leicester Tigers||Walsall|
|Ryan Cowling||1.0||West Coast Crash||Matlock|
|Myles Pearson||1.5||West Coast Crash||Lytham St Annes|
|Nick Cummins||1.5||Leicester Tigers||Leicester|
|Chris Ryan (Captain)||2.0||London||Welwyn Garden City|
|Gavin Walker (V Captain)||2.0||Leicester Tigers||Rotherham|
|Ayaz Bhuta||2.5||West Coast Crash||Bolton|
|Jamie Stead||2.5||Leicester Tigers||Normanton|
|Aaron Phipps||3.5||Solent Sharks||Southampton|
|Stuart Robinson||3.5||West Coast Crash||Morecambe|
Image: Aaron Phipps in action against Japan at the Japan Para Championships May 2018