GB Team Key Players
BT Great Britain – Key Players Preview
Our BT Great Britain squad preview now takes a closer look at three of the key players. In captain Chris Ryan, speed merchant Ayaz Bhuta and all rounder Jim Roberts, GB have three match winning players.
Name: Chris Ryan
Initially a keen footballer, Chris
found a passion for golf during his teens. With a handicap down to just 2, and
a collection of Junior Open and scratch medals to his name, Chris was confident
he knew what the future held. He enrolled at the Sports Academy for Golf in
Colchester, and was studying for a B.Tech in Sports Evaluation and Performance,
when the car he was a passenger in crashed in November 2008.
Like many of the GB squad members Chris undertook his rehab at the spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville. He was introduced to wheelchair rugby by the unit’s sports therapist but, initially concerned with just getting on with life, Chris returned home to assess his options. In 2010 he joined the London club and became inspired by the players with the same function as him, who had far greater independence and ability. Chris worked hard to improve his strength and speed and was put on the reserve list for London 2012. Chris was selected to the full squad in 2013, and states that his proudest moment was being named vice captain in March 2014.
West Coast Crash
Bolton’s Ayaz Bhuta, is part of the
new crop of young talented players to enter the national squad since London
2012. Born with Roberts Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the
growth of bones in the arms and legs, Ayaz stands at just 3’ 7”. But what he
lacks in height, he more than makes up for in character and talent. Originally
a wheelchair basketball player, Ayaz started playing club rugby in 2009, and
found the more physical elements of the game suited him better. He was selected
to play in a tri-nations tournament in Australia in 2010. Ayaz returned from
Australia disappointed after being warned that his size meant he would be
unlikely to succeed at international level. However Ayaz is nothing if not
persistent. He stuck with the game and was selected for the GBWR Development
Squad in 2011.
At his first development squad tournament (Rugby Mania 2012) Ayaz was voted ‘best in class’ and from then on he went from strength to strength. In 2013 he made his full GB debut at the Denmark Challenge Cup, where he was again voted best in class.
In Canada Cup 2014 Ayaz was again named the best 2.5 of the tournament. A popular player, Ayaz went on to win the inaugural Fans MVP award at the 2014 World Championships.
London Wheelchair Rugby/ Pheonix Heat
Roberts was a Welsh cross-country runner and caught bacterial meningitis while a student at Coventry University, resulting in the amputation of both legs. He was introduced to wheelchair rugby by a nurse who supported his rehabilitation whilst in hospital.
He was picked for the development squad in 2012 and his international debut was in 2013 at the European Championships. Roberts currently plays on both sides of the Atlantic – for Phoenix Heat in the winter and London Wheelchair Rugby Club in the summer.
For the last two seasons he achieved a clean sweep, winning the US Quad Rugby Association nationals in the USA, and the GB Nationals at home.
Will Chris, Ayaz and Jim provide the difference for GB? Will the home crowd cheer GB on to overall Victory? Let us know your thoughts @BTWWRC15.