Following the huge success of the inaugural King Power Quad Nations tournament in 2018, which saw over 5000 supporters watch Paralympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medallist teams from around the globe compete in Leicester, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby have announced their players for the 2019 tournament in a line up which includes athletes who have previously represented their country in the Paralympic Games.
Described by spectators and sports commentators as brutal, the supercharged tournament will be held at Leicester’s Morningside Arena between Friday 1st March and Sunday 3rd March 2019, bringing together three incredible days of the world’s best ‘Murderball’ teams for this intense, elite-standard competition. Competing, Great Britain will be up against Japan, who won the Gold medal at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships held in Sydney this summer; Canada who is currently ranked 4th in the world and France ranked 7th.
Representing Great Britain will be three Leicester Tigers players; Gavin Walker, Jamie Stead and Leicester University student, Nick Cummins along with a surprise selection: Kylie Grimes. Kylie last played international wheelchair rugby in 2012 and returns to the game following a three-year spell with British Athletics. As an experienced low point player Kylie provides the coach with more opportunities to use high pointers Aaron Phipps and Stuart Robinson.
The 2019 Great Britain King Power Quad Nations Line up is:
Kylie Grimes 0.5(F)
Jonathan Coggan 0.5
Ryan Cowling 1.0
Nicholas Cummins 1.5
Gavin Walker (Vice Captain) 2.0
Chris Ryan (Captain) 2.0
Jamie Stead 2.5
James Roberts 3.0
Aaron Phipps 3.5
Stuart Robinson 3.5
The three-day tournament marks an important performance opportunity for Great Britain ahead of the 2019 European Championships in Denmark where Team GB will defend their title, and ahead of the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge which will be played alongside the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo in October and involve the top eight teams in the world.
Fast paced and violent, players compete in specially-designed, manual wheelchairs and must meet a minimum disability criterion, classifiable under the sport classification rules. All competing athletes were either born with physical disabilities, or have suffered illness which has affected their mobility, or else experienced life-changing injuries through accidents, including those serving in the armed forces.
Head Coach Paul Shaw said, ‘As always it has been a difficult selection and we have had to leave out some strong and experienced athletes but it’s good to have competition for places and to be able to try some new lines. We have a really good competition programme this year which includes defending our European title in the summer, so we want to get off to a strong start’.
David Pond, Chief Executive Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby comments, “I’m really excited to be returning to Leicester for this tournament which again sees us play some of the top teams in the world, including Japan, recently crowned as World Champions. I like the selection and it’s good to see a female athlete earn a place in the squad. Kylie is proof that if you are good enough then being female is no barrier to making this team. As always I am humbled by the support we are getting from our sponsor King Power and from the many businesses and local people in the city.”
The King Power Wheelchair Rugby Quad Nations tournament will take place 1st – 3rd March 2019 at the Morningside Arena with daytime and evening sessions over three days. Family tickets and concessions for Schools and Students will also be available.
For more details visit www.wrquadnations.com
About Wheelchair Rugby
Wheelchair Rugby was first recognised as a full medal sport at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. It has since featured at the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Originating in Canada in the 1970s, wheelchair rugby developed from the ‘murderball’ game – created by a group of disabled sportsmen. The Paralympic Games take place in Tokyo in 2020.