Surprising tactics behind 'crazy' Paralympic sport

2 months ago 20
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Its authoritative sanction is wheelchair rugby, but those who tune successful to the Tokyo Paralympics mightiness cognize it amended by its nickname - 'murderball'.

It's a athletics where, to the casual observer, thing seems to beryllium just game, though Australia's captain, Ryley Batt, would disagree.

The 32-year-old volition stock the emblem bearing duties for tonight's opening ceremony with tennis subordinate Daniela Di Toro, earlier turning his attraction to Australia's quest for a 3rd consecutive golden medal.

That won't beryllium an casual feat, with the No.1 ranked Australian broadside facing stiff contention from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Japan.

Ryley Batt successful enactment for Australia. (Getty)

"We've got a spot of a rivalry going with the Japanese squad astatine the moment, they bushed america by 1 constituent connected location ungraded successful 2018 astatine our location satellite championships," Batt told Radio 2GB's Ben Fordham.

"We got them backmost successful 2019 connected location ungraded astatine the World Cup. It's a large rivalry, it's going to beryllium a cracking game."

Born without legs, Batt needed country to abstracted the webbing successful his fingers, and initially rejected the usage of a wheelchair, until Paralympian Tom Kennedy visited his school.

"Being calved with a disability, it was conscionable mean to me," Batt explained.

"I tried to bash everything my friends did, and I deliberation that's what acceptable maine up successful life, to look astatine your abilities, not your disabilities.

"I despised radical successful wheelchairs, I didn't privation to beryllium successful a wheelchair. I utilized a skateboard to get astir erstwhile I was young, due to the fact that that's what the chill kids did, and I wanted to acceptable in."

Ryley Batt of Australia and Ayaz Bhuta of Great Britain during the 2015 BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge match. (Getty)

But Kennedy, who won a metallic medal astatine the 2000 Games successful wheelchair rugby, was instrumental successful convincing Batt to effort the sport.

"I didn't privation to leap successful the wheelchair astatine the start, but I watched each my able-bodied friends leap successful the wheelchairs and bash each other," helium explained.

"I benignant of wanted to bash it, but I couldn't flooded that kryptonite of the wheelchair.

"A fewer weeks rolled on, and I decided to leap in, and perfectly loved it.

"For the archetypal clip successful my beingness I felt similar I was connected a level playing tract with my friends."

While it whitethorn look similar there's nary rules, Batt says that's acold from the truth.

"I privation determination wasn't any! It's really a beauteous strategical game," helium explained.

"The viewers watching from location won't recognize a batch of the tactics, but there's reasons wherefore we bash what we do.

"Think of it similar dodgem cars, you tin instrumentality retired whoever you want, oregon a small spot similar chess, we've got our little functioning players who are similar a pawn, they've astir got to support the queen.

"It each works successful sync, and it's a beauteous strategical game."

But strategical doesn't mean things don't get ugly.

"We are a spot brainsick sometimes, but what draws maine towards wheelchair rugby, oregon murderball, is the physicality," Batt said.

"It's the lone Paralympic athletics that encourages athletes to sound each different retired of wheelchairs!"

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