Rugby paralympian puts sport students through their paces

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Sport students in Halifax were put through their paces by a former paralympian.

Calderdale College welcomed Andy Atkinson to coach able-bodied Level 2 students wheelchair rugby.

Andy represented Great Britain at the paralympic sport in 2007 and he passed on his expertise in the college’s new sports hall.

The hall is based at the Inspire Centre and is fully equipped for wheelchair and able-bodied sports.

The students were coached on the basic skills necessary to play the game, which became a paralympic sport in 1996.

Around 30 pupils took part in the class aged between 16-18 and all thoroughly enjoyed the sport, which embraces a wide range of disabilities.

Steve Harrison, programme manager for sport at the college, said: “It was a great experience for the students and they learnt a lot about how to play the game.

“I was really impressed by how well the students picked up the sport at their first attempt.”

Andy has helped to set up a wheelchair rugby team in Halifax, which is now taking advantage of the new facilities at Calderdale College.

Malcolm Kielty, chairman of Halifax Wheelchair Rugby Club said: “We are going to base our club there, training starts next week.”

The HWRC, which has been running for three years, is one of 10 teams playing the sport in the UK.

Malcolm added: “The college has brand new facilities, the accessibility and the parking is perfect for us.”

Wheelchair rugby has grown increasingly popular since its creation in the 1970s in Canada.

Frances Lister, events officer at the college, said: “Our new sports hall is fully equipped for all sports and we’re hoping to continue working with Halifax Wheelchair Rugby Club.”