Paralympic Gold for Leicester sports scholar

University of Leicester History PhD student and sports scholar Nick Cummins has won Gold as part of Great Britain’s Wheelchair Rugby squad at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Cummins and Co powered past the USA in their Gold medal match on Sunday to win Team GB’s first ever medal in the sport made famous by 2005 documentary film Murderball.

Medal favourites going into the competition, Great Britain beat Canada and New Zealand in their first two group games before narrowly going down 48 points to 50 to Wheelchair Rugby heavyweights USA on Friday.

But a knockout stage win over hosts Japan set up a rematch against the USA on Sunday, and Team GB held their nerve to secure a stunning 54-49 victory.

Nick, who combines his studies with playing a key role in the Leicester Tigers Wheelchair Rugby team, featured alongside club colleagues Jamie Stead and co-captain Gavin Walker in the competition.

“We have been used to going home disappointed so that’s what it makes it better. We’ve had a lot of disappointments, but those last two games were incredible,” said co-captain Chris Ryan.

“We knew we were good, but we had never got over that hurdle in a major event. It’s unbelievable - they’re getting better. It really is quite incredible.”

The University of Leicester Sports Scholarship programme supports high-performing student athletes from a range of sports, allowing them to continue their sporting lives alongside their academic studies.

The offer includes access to the University’s sports facilities plus individualised physical conditioning, physiotherapy and a life skills coaching programme. The University also offers financial support for items such as equipment, travel expenses and specialist coaching.

Find out more about the programme, and how to apply, on the Sports Scholarships web pages.

Wheelchair Rugby was introduced to the Paralympic programme as a test event at Atlanta 1996 and the ParalympicsGB team has competed at every Games since, finishing fifth at Rio 2016. They currently sit second in the overall medal table with 23 Gold, 19 Silver and 18 Bronze medals.