Wheelchair rugby has arrived in Bristol with the launch of the Bristol Bears and Bristol Cubs Wheelchair Rugby Clubs.
The junior club, the Cubs, held their inaugural training session at Ashton Park Sports Centre last Tuesday evening, with the adult Bears kicking off their programme at the same venue on Thursday.
The formation of the clubs follows some taster sessions last year that were run by Wheelchair Rugby regional development officers Paul Arnold and Stuart McLendon, and this past week the team has taken delivery of their special chairs.
Programme manager for the Bears and Cubs, Kris Tavender, believes the launch is “a landmark moment” for inclusive sports provision both in Bristol and at the Bristol Rugby Community Foundation and he is predicting a “bright future”.
He added: “Working extensively with Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby and our funding partners, Premiership Rugby, Comic Relief and Bristol Sport Foundation, it is great to bring all of this together at the Ashton Park Sports Centre. Across all of our inclusive provision, wheelchair rugby provides one of the most unique access points for dis- abled young people and adults alike – offering a truly level playing field for wheelchair and non-wheelchair users, participants with learning difficulties and even as far as their siblings and friends to all partake in the truly meaningful sport together.
“With the new teams – the Bears (adults) and the Cubs (juniors) – both the immediate and long-term future of wheelchair rugby is very bright, beginning with the National Youth Tournament in November at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium.”
The Bears are open to physically disabled men and women over the age of 16, catering for all abilities, with sessions every Thursday (8.00 pm-10.00 pm) at Ashton Park Sports Centre. The club’s junior section, the Cubs, runs every Tuesday (5.00 pm-7.00 pm) at the same venue.
For more information, or to get involved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.