University of Leicester student in world wheelchair rugby challenge

Posted by ap507 at Oct 19, 2015 12:25 PM |
Gold Alumni Sports Scholarship winner describes honour at taking part in prestigious tournament

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office 19 October 2015

A University of Leicester doctoral student has described the ‘great experience’ of taking  part in the inaugural BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge.

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby announced 12 players to compete in the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, which took place  from 12 to 16 October 2015,  at the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

University of Leicester PhD History student Nick Cummins was among those selected.  He said: “It was a big honour to be selected to represent Great Britain at this prestigious tournament which brought together the best teams in the world.  It provided a great opportunity for us to compete for a medal on home soil.

“We opened the tournament against France and put in an excellent team performance to beat them 55-45.  In our second group game we faced Australia, the current world and Paralympic champions, despite pushing them all the way to the final whistle we lost by two goals.  This defeat meant that our next game, against Japan, was a must-win game as defeat would rule us out of the semi-finals.  Great Britain are currently ranked 5th in the world with Japan one place ahead at number 4 so this match provided us with a great opportunity to leap frog them in the world rankings and book a place in the semi-finals.  Japan, however, proved too much for us and the game finished 48-55.  With a top four-place lost, our task was to finish as high as possible.  We succeeded in this by defeating South Africa and winning a rematch with France to finish fifth in the tournament.

“It was a great experience to represent my country at the 2015 BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge at the Copperbox in London.  Wheelchair rugby proved one of the most popular sports at London 2012 and this event was aimed at recapturing some of that success by bringing together the best teams in the world at the Copperbox.  It was also a great opportunity for myself and my teammates to demonstrate our ability in front of a home crowd and live on ITV4.  It was disappointing to finish fifth, however, our performances demonstrated our progress over the last year and provided us with a platform to build upon ahead of the Paralympic games in Rio next year.”

Nick also paid tribute to the University of Leicester for its support: “The University has awarded me a gold Alumni sports scholarship which has really helped my training and enabled me to have regular strength and conditioning sessions with my trainer Mark Simmons at the University's sports facilities.”

At age 19 whilst studying at another university, Nick contracted Meningococcal Septicaemia.  The illness resulted in the loss of several digits and left Nick with severe distal weakness of the limbs.  Looking for an opportunity to get back into sport and to assist his rehabilitation, Nick made contact with the East Midlands Marauders wheelchair rugby team after watching the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. Having featured in the GB development squad from 2011-2014, Nick made his international debut in January 2015.

Matthew Weir, Associate Director of the University’s Sport & Recreation Service said: “Nick is the epitome of hard work and dedication. He is not afraid of pushing himself outside of his comfort zone in the gym and is reaping the rewards as a result of his positive attitude.”

Nick’s PhD project at the University of Leicester is about US foreign policy and Iran during the Reagan years.  Dr Sally Horrocks from the School of History said: “The School of History is delighted that Nick’s hard work has been rewarded by being selected to represent GB at this event.”

  • Nick is a recipient of a Gold Alumni Sports Scholarship, made possible through the generous donations of University Alumni each year to the Student Opportunities Fund which allows student-athletes, like Nick, the opportunity to compete at national and international events by providing financial support for things such as travel expenses, equipment and specialist coaching.




About GB Wheelchair Rugby

GB Wheelchair Rugby is a registered charity (No1130038) and the National Governing Body for Wheelchair Rugby in Great Britain. It receives funding from UK Sport and the Lottery to support its elite programme and the team for the Paralympic Games, and from Sport England to assist in providing sporting opportunities for disabled people. It is supported by the Rugby Football Union which provides for its head office at Rugby House, Twickenham. GB Wheelchair Rugby’s principal partner is BT which supports the BT GB team and a number of community programmes.

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