On October 12th, we were lucky to be provided with tickets by nsif CEO Mike Milner to attend the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in his place at the Copper Box, Olympic Park.
We went in blind, as novices, unaware of the frenetic pace and full-bloodied nature of the sport.
First up were neighbours, USA and Canada. In a tight match, with neither side holding back, Canada shaved it by just a point. The final score ended 57-58. A close contest indeed.
The next match, we had closer ties to. Hosts Team GB were up against France. Considering how poorly we had performed in the Rugby World Cup… The pressure was on here. With strong home support spilling out of the stands, we had the impetus. In another very close match, we managed to defeat the French by 10 points, the final score ending at 55-45.
Unfortunately we couldn’t make good on our early tournament promise, with Canada emerging as cup victors.
It proved an enthralling evening, a surprising one too. I was taken aback by the resilience of the competitors, they would crash into one another, falling and rising over and over again. I started to see this as a metaphor for their own personal journeys. I began to see their physical limitations as mental liberation: though this was a no-holds-barred contact sport, it was their incredible mental strength and conviction that struck me most.
I left with a bellyful of inspiration. Wheelchair rugby has a new fan!
Damola Oladapo, nsif team