Great Britain’s Jim Roberts during the first match of the Wheelchair Rugby at the Paralympic Games in Rio against Australia – Source: East London Advertiser

 

UK Sport says it must prioritise sports with the strongest medal potential for Tokyo.

 

A fundraising campaign has been launched by Great Britain’s Wheelchair Rugby to help them get to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

After UK Sport removed funding, fears are that the team will no longer be able to train and travel to international competitions. Currently ranked fifth in the world in Wheelchair rugby, Great Britain only lost to Australia, the Rio Gold medalists by a mere two points in extra time in Brazil.

 

Headed up by GBWR ambassador and England and Harlequins fullback Mike Brown, the campaign hopes to bring in the money needed to fund the GB team’s participation in Tokyo.

“After watching the team for the first time at London 2012, I was inspired,” Brown said. “The guys are an unbelievable testament to overcoming hardship and I am proud to be an ambassador to the team, and even prouder to be helping to spearhead this campaign.”

The GB team has been described as a ‘young, hungry and immensely talented team’ and only narrowly missed out on a semi-final place at the Rio Paralympic Games. Vice-Captain Gavin Walker told BBC Radio 5 Live, “Since London we have made massive progress and I believe we are good enough to medal in Tokyo”.

 

The sport provides participation opportunities for many people with a wide range of physical impairments and since London 2012 has grown from 7 to 22 teams. GBWR Chief Exec David Pond stated “The stories behind these individuals are a constant source of inspiration to their communities and the public at large”.

 

The body has promised to put in a ‘comprehensive transition and support package’ to help the sports affected.

“We would like to invest in every sport but the reality is that we have to prioritise within agreed resources to protect and enhance the medal potential within the system,” Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport.

 

Mike Brown, GBWR Ambassador insisted, “The funding is absolutely vital. I appeal to everyone to help in any way they can and to help secure the future of GBWR.”

If you would like donate to the funding campaign you can do so by visiting

http://gbwr.org.uk/

#saveGBWR