In a great move for wheelchair rugby and disability sports in general, BT Group — a British multinational telecommunication company — has partnered with Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby to promote the game. The company, who has gone out of its way to promote disability sports in the UK, feels this partnership both supports the GBWR and enables wheelchair rugby to gain some mainstream traction.

Wheelchair rugby was the subject of the 2005 documentary called Murderball, which followed the World Cup rivalry between the USA and Canada teams. Besides displaying the wonderful personalities on both sides, the doc showed that rugby is a tough and physically demanding sport, meaning these disabled individuals are putting as much on the line, if not more, as able-bodied players.

David Pond, CEO of GBWR commented on the partnership, “It’s fantastic to have BT behind us as we continue to grow Wheelchair Rugby over the next three years. Not only will the BT GB team benefit from the partnership as they prepare for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, but thanks to BT we’ll be able to build our Club National Championships into a high quality event and get more people than ever playing the game in their local communities all over the UK.”

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One of the exciting prospects from the deal is developing tournaments or yearly series that could, as previously mentioned, push the sport into mainstream: the press released stated, “BT and GBWR will also work to increase the visibility of the domestic club competition through the BT Super Series and help develop the BT National Championships into a high quality event for players and spectators.” This is on top of their plan to host the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, which will take place amid the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London: at this challenge, the Great Britain national team will compete against USA, Canada, Japan, South Africa, France, New Zealand and current champion Australia.

Mike Brown, England national team star in the able-bodied realm, believes all of these events will only shine a light on the sport: “It’s fantastic to see the plans that BT and GBWR are putting in place to drive the sport forwards, enabling many more people to get involved… The BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge is a brilliant idea. It’s being staged right in the middle of the Rugby World Cup and will generate plenty of interest in Wheelchair Rugby at a vital time for the sport.”

It is certainly an exciting prospect for a fantastic sport: people due to unfortunate circumstances are put into wheelchairs every year, and this shows them that there is still plenty to life when disabled.

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