October 23rd, 2016

Wheelchair Basketball star Mandip Sehmi gets GB call for European Championships

LEAMINGTON’s Mandip Sehmi has been selected as one of 12 players for Great Britain’s Wheelchair rugby side who will compete in the IWRF 2015 European Championships later this year.

The 34-year-old will fly out with the GB squad to Pajulahti in Finland for the tournament which takes place between September 13-20.

GB are currently ranked fifth in the world and will face France, Belgium and Sweden in their opening matches.

“This is an important tournament for us as it is a qualifier for Rio 2016,” said Lorraine Brown, performance director for Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby.

“Since London 2012 we’ve been honing our squad and introducing a number of younger players to the game who are playing alongside experienced players such as Mike Kerr, Alan Ash and Jonathan Coggan.

“We still have work to do but we are building a strong squad and tournaments such as the European Championships will only help strengthen the team further.”

Sehmi was first introduced to the sport by Bob O’Shea at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, who was the captain of the GB wheelchair rugby team heading out to the Sydney Paralympics.

In 2002 he was scouted and went on a World Friendship Tour, which saw Sehmi visit the likes of San Diego, Singapore, Sydney and Cape Town in the space of four weeks ,before making his GB debut in 2005 at the European Championships in Denmark.

The European Championships are only one of many tournaments the squad will take part in ahead of Rio.

In October the UK hosts the inaugural BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge at the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

The event will see London 2012 Paralympic gold medallists Australia, silver medallists Canada and bronze medallists USA battle it out for supremacy against hosts Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and France.

David Pond, Chief Executive OF Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, added: “It is an exciting time for the game, our squad is maturing each day and, thanks to the funding support of UK Sport, the Lottery and Sport England, we’ve been able to focus on their development needs, as well as to open more clubs across the UK.

“In the last year alone we’ve seen three new clubs open and have plans for more over the next twelve months.  We are also delighted with our new partnership with BT which is already enabling us to further develop the sport.”