The British Sledge Hockey Association (BSHA) has announced today the 14 players who will represent the Great Britain Sledge Hockey team for the Paralympic Qualifiers, to be held in Turin from the 20 to 26 October, to secure a place at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.
One team member is Private Tyler Christopher who was injured in Afghanistan 2009 when he lost both of his legs in an IED explosion. Since being injured Tyler has been supported by Help for Heroes, thanks to your generous donations.
GB sledge hockey has not competed at a Paralympic games since Turin in 2006 with a talented team that included London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist, Richard Whitehead alongside World Champions Stephen Thomas (sailing) and Nathan Stephens (athletics).
Since missing out on qualifying for the last winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010, the BSHA has established a robust development programme and established a national league structure supported by committed stakeholders.
Over the past four years the GB team has risen consistently up the world rankings culminating in winning a bronze medal earlier this year at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships (Pool B) in Japan.
In order to qualify for the Sochi Winter Paralympics GB must finish third and will be competing against hosts, Italy, as well as Sweden, South Korea, Germany and Japan.
The selected athletes are;
- Ian Warner (Kingston Kestrels)
- Gary Farmer (Peterborough Phantoms)
- Stephen Thomas (Cardiff Devils)
- Karl Nicholson (Manchester Phoenix)
- Matthew Coleman (Peterborough Phantoms)
- Matthew Clarkson (Kingston Kestrels)
- Robin Gaze (Peterborough Phantoms)
- Tyler Christopher (Battle Back Bisons)
- Darren Brown (Peterborough Phantoms)
- Matthew Woollias (Kingston Kestrels)
- Bryan Hackworth (Kingston Kestrels)
- Mark Briggs (Kingston Kestrels)
- Nathan Stephens (Cardiff Devils)
- Anthony Booth (Manchester Phoenix)
There is no shortage of international experience in the squad selected today which contains 12 members of the GB team which won the Bronze medal earlier this year plus seven athletes who have competed in at least one Paralympic Games.
Elite Programme Director John Neville said: “I’m delighted to welcome such a talented and experienced group of players to the British team for the Paralympic qualifying tournament. The progress that the squad has achieved over the past four years is really impressive and they now have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate their progress in Turin in October”.
Wish the team good luck! Tweet your good luck messages to @GBSledgeHockey on Twitter or visit the BSHA website at www.sledgehockey.co.uk