Wheelie good fun
Last updated at 15:32, Friday, 02 November 2012
ONE of the fastest growing disability sports came to Barrow this week at a wheelchair football taster session. JO DAVIES reports.
Adam Parry, a disability sports consultant, and coach of high-flying premiership club Northern Thunder shared his skills, experience and specialist equipment with the group at Hoops, in Barrow, yesterday and Monday.
Members of the Wildcats Wheelchair Sports Club took to the fast-paced game like seasoned professionals.
The specially adapted wheelchairs reach speeds of 10kph and the smaller wheels allow greater manoeuvrability.
Jonny Howsley, a 20-year-old member of Bolton Bullets wheelchair football team and student from Arnside, lent his support to the event.
“I go down to Nottingham for the national league and play teams from around the country,” said Jonny, who has been in the sport for three years.
“It’s different to regular football because there’s not really set positions. You have a goalie and others try and attack. You also get quite a bit of contact because it’s hard to play without accidentally knocking into people.”
Wheelchair football is one of the fastest growing disability sports in the world but the funding required to set up a team means there are relatively few to join, with the nearest being in Carlisle.
“If you are playing competitively you need adapted chairs with smaller wheels, bumpers and side panels. I got mine funded by a charity,” added Jonny, who is studying sport development at university and is interesting in promoting the sport.
“We’ve got a group of players now at uni and I’m hoping to get it more community based.”
With a start-up cost of around £40,000 for a team of eight, taster sessions such as these offer a great insight into the sport, without any financial commitment.
“We bring the wheelchairs and do some coaching in basic skills of the sport and provide start-up advice to groups like this who want to take it further,” explained Adam. “When you play the sport at a reasonable level it’s also a very good spectator sport with lots of spin kicks and a lot of dynamic elements.”
The Wildcats Wheelchair Sports Club is also offering its members training to become qualified boccia leaders on Friday.
First published at 16:13, Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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