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Students Gearing Up to Wheel All the Way to Manchester

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National wheelchair basketball champions from the University of Worcester are gearing up to wheel all the way to Manchester for a chance to retain their title.

They are teaming up with fellow University students and staff for a fundraising challenge to push wheelchairs on treadmills for up to eight hours in a bid to cover the 111-mile distance from Worcester to the north western city.

This is to pay for the University team’s trip to the British Wheelchair Basketball University Championships, which takes place this year in Manchester on March 4th and 5th.

Society member Emma Graham said: “This is our only tournament all year and that’s why we wanted to go to compete against other teams from across the UK.

“We want to bring the title back to Worcester and it would be a good recognition for our hard work.”

The University's Wheelchair Basketball Society, whose team won last year's event, has never finished below third in the British tournament’s three year history.

Members hope the Wheel to Victory event, on Friday, February 24, will raise £1,000, to cover the Worcester team’s travel and accommodation expenses.

It has invited University of Worcester societies and clubs, as well as academic staff, to form teams which will compete to cover the largest distance between them in wheelchairs on specialised treadmills, with a prize for the team that goes furthest in an hour.

The team, which is a mixture of able bodied and disabled athletes where men and women play alongside each other, has set an eight hour timeframe in which they hope to achieve the distance.

“We have done a test run using the equipment with people use to pushing on a regular basis,” said Emma, 27, who is in the final year of a Sports Coaching Science with Disability Sport degree.

“Because it’s a treadmill, it makes you work. It’s like pushing on a thick carpet so it’s going to be challenging. We have set ourselves quite a big challenge.

“But we wanted to show that we wanted to work for this. We have been training all year for this tournament and we wanted to lead by example and show we’re willing to put in the miles.”

Twenty per cent of the money raised will go to the Red Cross, in recognition of their loan of the five wheelchairs being used as part of the challenge.

The challenge will be done on five Invictus Active Trainers, three of which have been lent by the company.

The society also hopes its presence at the competition will further enhance the University’s reputation for inclusive sport.

Mick Donovan, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development) at Worcester, said: "In recent years, our Wheelchair Basketball club has certainly gained an excellent reputation for having one of the leading University programmes in the UK, with some great performances during the Championships.

“This fundraising challenge demonstrates their commitment to make their mark once again and we really wish them well."

You can donate to the cause by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/help-get-teamworc-to-uni-champs.