Sports scholar picked for Tokyo Paralympic squad

University of Leicester History PhD student and sports scholar Nick Cummins has been selected in Great Britain’s Wheelchair Rugby squad for this summer’s rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Twelve athletes have been announced for this high intensity sport with the majority of the team benefitting from the experience of competing at multiple Paralympic Games.

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

“It’s a tremendous honour to be selected to the squad that will compete in Tokyo and the culmination of many years hard work.

“We’re taking a very strong and competitive squad to the tournament and we’re confident of our chances at winning Great Britain’s first ever medal at a Paralympic Games.”

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission at Tokyo 2020, added:

“I would like to congratulate the athletes selected for the first team sport to be confirmed as part of ParalympicsGB for Tokyo 2020.

“Wheelchair Rugby has a proud record of competing at every Games since it was introduced to the schedule as a test event at Atlanta 1996 and this squad boasts a vast array of talent and experience. I would like to pay testament to their resilience, dedication and hard work over the last 14 months.

“Despite the challenges and restrictions due to the pandemic, they have maintained an unerring focus on their goal for Tokyo. I can’t wait to see them compete in a little over 80 days’ time.”

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.

More recently in 2019, Great Britain were crowned European champions – retaining the title for the third successive occasion, and their seventh overall. Ten of the athletes heading to Tokyo were part of that Gold medal-winning squad.

A total of around 240 athletes from 19 sports are expected to make up the British team that will compete in Japan, with further names to be announced in the coming months.

The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be staged from August 24 to September 5.