So as you may know, I recently qualified for the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Sydney, Australia, with the Irish Wheelchair Rugby Team. This competition takes place on August 3rd-10th 2018. Some of you may know a little about the sport but I’m going to explain it a bit more here.
Wheelchair Rugby was developed in Canada in 1976, and is currently the only full-contact wheelchair sport. In 2000, it became a Paralympic sport. There are over 25 countries playing the sport now.
Below is a video giving an insight into the sport!
The rules are a mix between rugby, basketball, ice-hockey, and american football. Wheelchair Rugby was developed for quadriplegics as they struggled to compete in other sports such as wheelchair basketball. The sport is now open to a greater number of disabilities, ranging from Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Meningitis, Spinal Cord injuries, the list is endless. As there are a lot of upper limb limitations in the sport we play with a volleyball instead of the classic oval shaped ball. We can also pass in any direction compared to Rugby which is restricted to a backwards pass.
To date, this is the furthest Ireland have ever got in terms of international based competitions. We usually only compete in the European Championships, where in 2015, we placed 6th. This was the highest we ever ranked in Europe. Unfortunately I had a broken leg for this competition and could not compete.
As a country, Ireland receives very limited funding for these competitions. We receive in and around €2000-3000 per year from Irish Wheelchair Association Sport. Unfortunately this is all they can afford to give us as our NGB. A lot of the funding comes from our own pockets and the fundraising we do as a team or individually. As a team we aim to raise funds through bucket collections, quiz nights, a big fundraiser such as a race night, the kube, strictly come dancing, etc. but as we do not have the time to organise one of these we are struggling. To get to Australia it is going to cost each player €3000- €4500. This is a lot of money to raise in such a short space of time to enable us to represent our country.
This is why I have decided to set up my GoFundMe page. I am hoping with the help of donations that I can raise enough money to fund part of the expense. Every little helps in helping me achieve this goal and is greatly appreciated!
- Coach Alan Dineen