Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby had their funding by UK Sport slashed from £2.9m to zero
“I love this game and personally put an architectural career on hold to pursue it.” wrote Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts’ new blog ‘Slashed my Tyres’ is the Paralympians thoughts and feelings about UK Sport’s astonishing decision to cut Wheelchair Rugby’s funding from £2.9m to zero.
Click here to read it in full.
“This funding cut is especially hard; I’ve been part of this squad for the past four years and I know the hard work and sacrifices that go into elite level sport.” wrote Roberts.
“I love this game and personally put an architectural career on hold to pursue it. I’m not the only one though, every single person on this squad has made some sort of sacrifice to be able to play.
“It strikes me as somewhat ironic that I lost both of my legs through contracting meningitis but I was more in control of that outcome than I am right now.
“Having faced adversity then, I am to a larger extent facing a bigger uncertainty as we wait to hear what the future holds for GB Wheelchair Rugby, us as a team and me as an athlete. I’ve put plans and goals in place to try my best to make this a reality.
“It’s heartbreaking that even though I have committed to that goal, ultimately the people who decide funding aren’t committed to us.”
In 2012 wheelchair rugby had seven teams in the country and no real performance system in place. Since then the sport has grown to 22 teams and it continues to grow with new clubs in Norwich and Brighton about to come on line.
England fullback Mike Brown has vowed to fight for wheelchair rugby by helping raise the money needed to keep the sport alive.
This, according to The Guardian, is not because wheelchair rugby has no potential to medal in Tokyo, but because there is just not enough resource to go round.
“Wheelchair rugby is an action packed sport which at the Paralympics is one everyone wants to watch.” said Brown to The Rugby Paper.
“Great Britain are European champions and came close to a medal in Rio, so why UK Sport cut their funding is beyond me.
“I’d like to meet the people who made that ridiculous decision because for a lot of these high-impairment wheelchair rugby players it’s the only chance they’ll get to represent Team GB and there are some amazing stories of people who have beaten the odds.”