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Young rugby star dreams of the Paralympics six years after life-changing accident

Young rugby star dreams of the Paralympics six years after life-changing accident

By Ben Hart

Rugby star Hannah Bucys has been selected for a prestigious sports programme and will follow Paralympic greats Ellie Simmonds, Hollie Arnold and Ade Adepitan.

Bucys says sport has given her a new lease of life after a bizarre accident turned her life upside down, and she has now been recognised by the charity SportsAid as an athlete with the potential to make it to the top.

The 21-year-old represented England as a gymnast but suffered a spinal cord injury during a club training session in late 2018, forcing her to give up the sport.

During her rehabilitation, Bucys came across a wheelchair rugby team and six years later, she is aiming to compete in the Paralympics.

“I’ve just been selected for the British wheelchair rugby talent team, the development team. It’s very exciting and my aim is to be part of the elite team at some point,” said Bucys, from Oldham.

“Hopefully one day I will compete internationally and go to the Paralympics. That would be absolutely fantastic. That is my biggest dream.”

Bucys, who graduated with a degree in physiotherapy from the University of Hull earlier this year, never expected that she would ever find a sport that could replace trampolining for her.

“Before my spinal cord injury, I didn’t even know wheelchair rugby existed,” she said.

“It’s a life-changing event and everything changes, but I wanted to rediscover my love for the sport and I definitely found that through wheelchair rugby.

“It gave me this love and I’m so glad I found it.

“It has given me a focus, a goal. It’s fun and the team is just fantastic.”

“I’m a pretty goal-oriented person. This gives me a goal to work towards and I want to constantly improve.

“It’s also a team sport. In trampolining, when we were on a team, you competed alone. So, moving from a more individual sport to a team sport, you’re working with other people, collaborating with your teammates and achieving something together.

“It’s just a really nice community and you can see how you progress and learn from each other. I’ve made friends for life through rugby, not only on my own team but on other teams too.”

Bucys is one of 50 athletes supported through a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multi-million pound grassroots programme run by Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.

These athletes represent Britain’s most promising sporting talent. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of over 60 sports based on set criteria. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000, with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charity funds and fundraising.

“I was thrilled when I found out that SportsAid was going to support me,” said Bucys. “I was just extremely grateful. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

“I am very grateful to have this opportunity and I want to make the most of it and see where it can take me.

“Hopefully one day I can compete internationally and take part in the Paralympics. That would be absolutely fantastic, that’s my biggest dream.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to support the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing financial support and personal development opportunities to talented young athletes in partnership with SportsAid. For more information visit entaingroup.com..