"28 for 28" - Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Aim to lift 'Showcase' Sport ahead of 2028 Paralympics - Ruck

“28 for 28” – Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Aim to lift ‘Showcase’ Sport ahead of 2028 Paralympics

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) has today launched the ‘28 for 28’. This strategic commercial initiative has been created, to support the vision for wheelchair rugby to become the showcase disability sport in the UK, ahead of the 2028 Paralympic Games.

GBWR is the national governing body for the game of wheelchair rugby in England, Scotland, and Wales. The mixed-gender sport has grown dramatically since the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. From originally only sporting one domestic league with a single division, there are now three disciplines: Paralympic wheelchair rugby, wheelchair rugby fives, and three-v-three wheelchair rugby.

There are now over 35 clubs across Great Britain, and Team GB made the headlines as they claimed gold medals at the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Great Britain are defending the gold at next year’s Paris Paralympics, however the GBWR are looking beyond the spectacle competition.

To help secure the future growth of the sport, GBWR has launched the ‘28 for 28’ initiative. This aims to bring together 28 partners to join the sport’s journey from the 2025 World Games in China through to the LA 2028 Paralympics.

Jason Brisbane, Chief Executive Officer at GBWR, said: “The sport’s growth in recent years has been astronomical, but there are still challenges that may reduce that momentum.  We are still a small sport yet have a huge role to play in ensuring people with disabilities are able to live active lifestyles and thrive.

“By launching the ‘28 for 28’, we are looking to work together with a series of partners who share our passion to break barriers, advance inclusivity, and help dreams come true. The opportunity for our sport is huge and we already have some fantastic partners signed up to support us. Our ambitious vision to become the showcase disability sport in the UK by 2028 demonstrates the journey we are on.”

A statement from GBWR highlighted the significant extent, that the cost of living crisis has had on the sport.

“Research earlier this year revealed that the rise in living costs affects people with disabilities more than those without1. People with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be inactive (43%) compared to those without (23%)2, highlighting the financial restraints that disabled individuals face to play sport and be active.

“Wheelchair rugby has the potential to empower individuals with severe physical impairments, but without further support it is going to be difficult to reach and retain those who could benefit from the sport, especially with living costs continuing to increase.”

GBWR wants to harness the collective power of a group who share a joint passion for inclusivity and creating opportunities for people with disabilities. The governing body has already secured support from partners Socios.com, Allied Mobility, Get Kids Going!, Ascot Underwriting Holdings Limited, and Tokio Marine Kiln.

All photos credit to GBWR/Megumi Masuda.