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One to Watch - Ayaz Bhuta


With the BT WWRC less than a month away, it is the time to look at who will be some of the key players throughout the spectacle. With seven of the top ten best countries in the world competing alongside 17th placed South Africa, the tournament is sure to showcase some of the games’ best players at the Copper Box Arena.

Profile

Name-AyazBhuta
DOB (age)-
17/04/89 (26 years old)
Place of Birth-
Bolton, UK
Classification-
2.5
Club-
West Coast Crash
Disability-
Roberts Syndrome

Career Highlights

2015 European Championships- 1st
2015 Swiss Preparation Tournament- 1st
2015 Metro Cup- 1st
2015 BT Nationals- 3rd (Most Valuable Player)
2014/15 BT Super Series Division One- 1st
2014 World Championships- 5th (Fans’ Most Valuable Player)
2014 Swiss Preparation Tournament- 1st
2014 Canada Cup- 4th
2014 Bernd Best- 1st
2013 European Championships- 3rd (Best 2.5 player)
2013 Rugbymania- 4th (Best 2.5 player)

Fresh from helping Great Britain win the 2015 European Championships will be the 26-year-old has had an impressive year on court, winning the European Championships, Swiss Preparation Tournament and the Metro Cup with GB in the last few months. He has also had success at club level too, winning the BT Super Series Division One with his team, West Coast Crash, before finishing third at the Nationals in May.

 

Nathaniel Holland caught up with the Bolton born player to see his how he was preparing ahead of the tournament opener with France on October 12th.

What are you looking forward to the most going into the tournament?
“If selected, I'm looking forward to playing in front of a home packed crowd. I was watching from the stands during London 2012 thinking “I wish I was out there playing" and now I have my chance. I'm hoping that the home advantage can help us become the first European team to break into the top three in the world.”

Did watching the London 2012 Paralympics inspire you to push on and try and get into the GB squad?

During London 2012 I had just become part of the GB Development squad and we were preparing for my first international tournament, Rugbymania in Prague, 2013. We finished fourth in the Czech Republic and I was voted as the best 2.5 player.“This encouraged me to train harder and later that year I was called up to be part of the GB squad alongside seven of my development teammates as there were a lot of players who retired after London 2012.

“At my first GB tournament, the World Challenge in Denmark, I was voted the best 2.5, which was a great honour. We went on to clinch bronze at the European Championships in 2013, which was a fair result considering the transition that the squad went through.

“Ever since I was given the opportunity to be a part of the GB squad, my motivation has always been to compete and hopefully medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.”

What are your thoughts on the standard of opposition that will be competing at the BT WWRC and is there any games you are looking forward to?
“The standard is really high for the tournament, there are some high ranked countries and South Africa will also gain a lot of experience from the event and they will also be a tough team.

“We came quite close to beating Canada at the World Championships last year, we lost by one point in overtime, I'd love to have a rematch! Both teams have been training hard for the past year and it would be an interesting game to play in, but we'd have to qualify for the semi finals to have a shot at playing them again.”

Who are you most looking forward to playing against?
As for a team, it has to be Japan, we are right behind them in the world rankings and if we want to break into the top three in the world we have to start beating the top four teams and hopefully we can do that on home soil.

“As for an individual player, Australia’s RyleyBatt is probably one of the most dominant players in the world in our sport right now. I will look forward to coming up against him in the pool stages.”

 Ayaz is looking forward to the match up with Japan.

What advice have you got for the fans and what can they expect from the BT WWRC?
“Enjoy the spectacle! The fans can expect big hits, lots of speed and exciting matches! To the naked eye wheelchair rugby looks like "smash the guy with the ball" but they can expect to see a lot of tactical moves and a lot of clock management.”

And finally, how do you think GB will fare in the tournament?
We are in high spirits after winning gold at the European Championships. Confidence and morale within the squad is high and we're hoping to use that to perform well at the tournament. We have a tough pool with France, Australia and Japan and we're hoping to reach the semi finals and I see the Japan game in the group stage as a crucial one, we're ranked 5th and Japan are 4th so it should be a close encounter and a great game to watch.”

Quick Fire Round:
Favourite Food-
Chicken
Favourite Drink-
Water
Sporting Idol-
David Beckham
Favourite Sport away from Wheelchair Rugby-
Football (Manchester United fan)
Favourite Colour-
Blue
Last Album you downloaded-
I just listen to what is on the radio
Last film you saw at the cinema-
The Maze Runner- Scorch Trials
What subject did you most enjoy at school-
P.E
Favourite Holiday Destination-
Australia
Random fact-
I have a phobia of public toilets
Hopes for future-
Be selected and win a medal at Rio 2016

If you want to get behind Ayaz and the British team then tickets for their France, Australia and Japan pool matches are available here