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BT National Championships bring competitive Wheelchair Rugby back to the Copper Box

28/04/2015

DC15-174 28th April 2015

BT National Championships bring competitive Wheelchair Rugby back to the Copper Box The BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships 2015 will see Great Britain's top teams compete across Cup and Shield competitions

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) is hosting its inaugural BT National Championship at the Copper Box Arena in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 2 4 May 2015. The event, which is free to the public, is supported by GBWR's headline sponsor BT. The three-day event is a fantastic opportunity for local residents, Londoners and rugby fans to enjoy wheelchair rugby at a world-class Paralympic venue.

The 2015 BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships mark the culmination of the 2014/15 season and represent a giant leap forward for the sport as the UK's biggest national wheelchair rugby event.

David Pond, CEO of GBWR said, The fact that we have 16 teams playing in our national championships this year is testament to the success of the London 2012 legacy and the continuing investment by the Lottery and Sport England. This is the first event of our new partnership with BT, and we are all very excited about working with them to provide more opportunities for more people to experience the sport .

GBWR is staging two competitions across the three days: a Shield' competition consisting of four teams and a Cup' competition consisting of 12 teams. The plays-offs will take place on the 2nd and 3rd May, with the finals scheduled for the Bank Holiday Monday 4th May. The majority of the BT GB Wheelchair Rugby Squad members will be competing for their club teams throughout the Championships, including BT GBWR Team Vice-Captain Chris Ryan, who plays his club rugby for the London Wheelchair Rugby Club.

Chris Ryan said, The BT National Championships is an amazing event and to have the chance to play back in the Copper Box and on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a fantastic opportunity. We are really excited about this year's Championship, where there will be a lot of talent on show.

Suzy Christopher, head of brand partnerships at BT, said, As a long-term supporter of disability sport and one of the driving forces behind the Paralympic movement in the UK, we're excited about our new partnership with GB Wheelchair Rugby. The BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships is the first big domestic event being staged as part of this partnership, and it'll be a fantastic opportunity to see the UK's best wheelchair rugby players in action.

As part of the BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships, spectators will be able to take part in wheelchair rugby taster sessions and meet the players from 12-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Visitors will be able to visit the club hub to learn more about the sport, and for the first time there will be a trained team of GBWR volunteers supporting the event, including several BT employees.

GBWR is supported by the Rugby Football Union, by the Greater London Authority, and by UK based sports wheelchair manufacturer Roma Sport, a long-term sponsor of the sport. Roma Sport will be running the mechanics repair centre at the BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships and at the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge.

Tickets for the BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships are free. Doors open 9am -7pm each day, with a showstopper Cup Final on Bank Holiday Monday 4th May at 13:00.

The next major international Wheelchair Rugby event in the UK is the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, where the BT GB team will face seven of the world's top teams at the Copper Box Arena from 12-16 October 2015.

-Ends-

The Teams competing in the BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships are as follows:

Cup:

West Coast Crash (Southport)

Stoke Mandeville Storm (London Wheelchair Rugby Club)

Leicester Tigers

Gaelic Warriors (Ireland)

Rygbi Gogledd Cymru (North Wales)

Marauders (Sheffield)

Crusaders (London Wheelchair Rugby Club)

West Coast Burn (Southport)

Solent Sharks

North East Bulls

Ospreys (Wales)

West Country Hawks

Shield:

Caledonian Crushers (Scotland)

Solent Hammerheads

Gloucester

Canterbury

Notes to editors:

For more information on the BT Wheelchair Rugby National Championships, visit http://gbwr.org.uk/event/bt-nationals-2015/

About GB Wheelchair Rugby

GB Wheelchair Rugby is a registered charity (No1130038) and the National Governing Body for Wheelchair Rugby in Great Britain. It receives funding from UK Sport and the Lottery to support its elite programme and team for the Paralympic Games, and from Sport England to assist in providing sporting opportunities for disabled people. It is supported by the Rugby Football Union which provides for its head office at Rugby House, Twickenham. www.gbwr.org.uk
LINK: http://www.btplc.com/News/Articles/ShowArticle.cfm?ArticleID=78618BEF-...
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