The 2021 Rugby League World Cup was the first at which the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments ran at the same time and the decision to do so went down as a huge success.
Running the three tournaments simultaneously was intended to give equality among the different formats and it ultimately meant greater audience figures for the wheelchair game which became an internet phenomenon.
Since then the men’s wheelchair side, who won the title, have been awarded the Sports Journalist Associations Award for Para Sport Team of the Year for 2022.
Coupling this huge success with the peaking fan interest has meant a huge spike in taster sessions that have popped up among sports halls and in line with rugby league clubs across the country.
Just last night (December 7th) Halifax Panthers star player and England winger Rob Hawkins attended a session put on by Bradford Bulls at which there was a huge turnout.
🧑🦽 | Last night we held our second @WheelchairRL Taster Session – 10 new faces took part! 🙌
👇 | Take a quick look at how the session unfolded… pic.twitter.com/m6LehaVbnf
— Bradford Bulls (@OfficialBullsRL) December 8, 2022
The beauty of the sport is its inclusive nature with able-bodied and disabled athletes all able to take part, something that England star Jack Brown found out and ultimately led him into the sport after he played wheelchair basketball with his brother.
Bradford’s session was attended by men and women of all ages and it follows successful taster sessions at other clubs including Leeds Rhinos.
Rochdale Hornets Foundation have also tweeted about their upcoming session which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 13th December from 7-8PM and is available for any and all to attend.
📣Only 5 more 💤 till our 2nd @WheelchairRL taster session!!
🤔 Want to give it a try?
📅 | Tue 13th Dec (19:00-20:00)
🏟️ | Rochdale Leisure Centre
📧 | If you are interested in attending email firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/AmNbflmAdO
— Hornets Foundation (@HornetsSpF) December 8, 2022
This rising interest in the sport can only be positive for the wheelchair game obviously, but also the wider men’s and women’s game as well and there’s hope that the three formats will feature alongside each other at the 2025 World Cup in France.