David Anthony selected for ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Rugby
Paul Dancey on 23/05/2012
The British Paralympic Association has announced the 11 players who have been selected to compete for ParalympicsGB in Wheelchair Rugby, a Paralympic-specific sport known originally as ĎMurderballí because it is an aggressive, full-contact sport.
As part of the plan to ensure the team are in the mix for medals this time around, GB Wheelchair Rugby have recruited and developed new talent, which has resulted in six athletes making their Paralympic debut for London, with David Anthony from Neath amongst them.
The development process has included sending five players on a 10-week intensive training camp in the USA where the players were put through their paces, training with some of the best international athletes in the world.
Disability Sport Wales Executive Director, Jon Morgan said of the selection: "I am delighted for David to be selected for the Paralympics GB Wheelchair Rugby squad for London 2012, and we look forward to seeing him at the Games, where hopefully weíll see him achieve his goal of gaining a medal."
The journey David has taken has been a carefully crafted one, where initially he became involved within the Disability Sport Wales Community programme following an event that the Development Officer in Neath Port Talbot organised at Margam Park. He fully immersed himself in the programme trying out a number of sports including Boccia and Skiing. Whilst at his multi-sports club in Neath the Cardiff Pirates Wheelchair Rugby team came along to demonstrate the sport, and straight away David was hooked on the sport. He joined the Cardiff Pirates, and quickly became an integral part of the team. With Disability Sport Wales Academy support he was able to attend GB training and development camps, and recently we have seen David compete at an international level and cement his place on the GB team.
"We are definitely looking for a medal out of this Paralympic Games", said GBWR Chief Executive David Pond. "The team has finished agonisingly close at the last two Games, despite securing strong results including three successive European golds in 2003, 2005 and 2007. So after Beijing we took some of our best young and promising talent out to the 2009 European Championships where we finished fourth and the 2010 World Championships where we finished fifth. We also put five of the most promising athletes through an intensive training camp where they competed against some of the best American players, which we knew would make our players tougher, faster and fitter.
"These players prove more exciting each day and they now have the experience they need to compete at the highest level at the Paralympic Games.
"We demonstrated this at the 2011 European Championships where we won silver. We are now in a position where we are confident that the team we have nominated to the BPA is one that can win a medal this time around."
ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Craig Hunter congratulated the players today, saying: "Iíd like to welcome these 11 athletes to ParalympicsGB.
"Wheelchair Rugby is a tough, fast game played with no fear and plenty of clashes and itís certainly not for the faint-hearted! Itís undoubtedly one of the sports that the British public has taken to and tickets to see the sport at London 2012 are already sold out, which is fantastic. I look forward to seeing the team compete for a place on the podium in just over 100 daysí time".
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