Wheelchair Rugby continues its' rapid growth

GB Wheelchair Rugby players Ayaz Bhuta and Jim Roberts
GB Wheelchair Rugby players Ayaz Bhuta and Jim Roberts

World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi believes that the increased media coverage of Wheelchair rugby will only help raise the awareness and profile of the sport.

Alphonsi is an ambassador of the organisation Wooden Spoon which is a children’s charity which, through the power of rugby, helps fund life changing projects for disadvantaged and disabled children.

The 31 year-old was in attendance at the Cooper Box Arena this week doing a session with Great Britain’s National Wheelchair Rugby Captain Steve Brown along with the Wooden Spoon ambassadors and the Canterbury wheelchair team.

“The event was all about raising awareness and the relationship which Wooden Spoon has with Wheelchair rugby,” said Alphonsi who retired from the game after the success of the World Cup with England last year.

“These events are so important. We get to raise the profile and use the ambassadors to do that. The good thing about the charity is that it aims to work with disadvantaged young people and obviously people with disabilities as well .

“Its all about raising money which can then go back in to supporting those individuals and grass roots, so people have the chance to be involved with rugby in different ways.”

Along with her huge amount of charity work, Alphonsi has been a regular pundit for ITV during the Rugby World Cup but was also part of their coverage of the Wheelchair Rugby Challenge which took place last week at the Cooper Box.

Wheelchair Rugby was officially made a Paralympic sport in 2000 and Alphonsi believes events like the Wheelchair Rugby Challenge highlights how much the sport has grown since the turn of the millennium.

She added: “It has grown massively. The sport has continually grown since 2012 in terms of profile and it’s now very competitive.  

“What’s great is that in 2012 Australia were the best team in the world, but in this Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, we saw Canada win it with the USA coming second and that only enhances people’s engagement with the sport.

“It’s great that the likes of ITV are broadcasting these events to the public and to develop a sport. You have to showcase it to the public so if you can put it on terrestrial television its great so it can appeal to the nation and increase the following of the sport.”

Wooden Spoon, the children's charity of rugby, helps highlight the power of Wheelchair Rugby with Wooden Spoon ambassadors Rory Lawson, Maggie Aphonsi, Tom May and Rachael Burford being put through their paces in an inspiring training session with ambassador and Team GBWR captain Steve Brown.
Rugby provides Wooden Spoon with its core values of Passion, Integrity, Teamwork and Fun, and the charity believes every child and young person, no matter what their background or ability, should have access to the same opportunities. #wearerugby. For more information visit: HERE