Wales Rugby League have been accepted as part of Disability Sport Wales’ insport programme.
The programme’s aim is to contribute to the ‘Vision for Sport’ by creating a more inclusive sports sector where every disabled person is hooked on sport, offering real choice as to where, when and how often people play sport. They believe that this approach will help to secure the sector’s goal of ‘more people, more active, more often’.
WRL’s acceptance as part of the programme forms part of the ongoing strategic restructure created by CEO Gareth Kear and the WRL board to make Rugby League more accessible to all.
Working with insport consultant Norman Greenhouse, WRL will work towards Gold Ribbon status and will also be launching five new community Wheelchair Rugby League teams in South and North Wales, two of which are to be announced this month. WRL will also be developing both Physical Disability and Learning Disability Rugby League programmes.
North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair Rugby League Club, who operate three sides in the RFL leagues, already hold their silver insport certificate and are currently working towards the gold.
Gareth Kear said: “Wales Wheelchair Rugby League has been at the forefront of developing wheelchair sport globally. As we are ranked third in the world, we are serious contenders for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
“The Strategic plan was always to have Wheelchair Rugby League teams as part of our existing community clubs in South Wales. This will allow us to run our own competition locally and still compete in the RFL Leagues. The WRL leagues will form part of the Wheelchair International Rugby League pathway.”
Tom Rogers, Senior in Sport Officer from Disability Sport Wales said: “On the back of the recent successes of the Welsh Wheelchair Rugby League team and with the inclusive delivery of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup on the horizon, this is an exciting time to build on the culture of inclusion within Rugby League in Wales.
“Disability Sport Wales are excited that Wales Rugby League has become one of 26 National Governing Bodies of Sport in Wales working towards an insport standard. The fundamental principle of the insport project is to support the development of an inclusive philosophy, working culture, policies and practices within the sport and leisure sectors in Wales.
“With the above in mind, this is the right time to further drive the principles of inclusion across all aspects of Rugby League delivery in Wales – whether playing, officiating, coaching or administration.”
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 in England will be the first competition that treats all athletes equally by paying the Men, Women and Wheelchair athletes exactly the same player participation fee.