Former student, Coral Batey, 21, has taken to the court this week to represent Team GB Rio 2016 Paralympics as part of the Wheelchair Rugby team. Some of our current learners gathered to watch her first match on Wednesday 14th September against Australia.
As the only female on the team and the youngest member, she is surprisingly comfortable playing the aggressive, male-dominated sport. In fact, she claims the physical nature is one of its main appeals: “Obviously it’s a contact sport but the chair takes most of the impact so it’s not painful.” Having said that, the Rio 2016 test event showed a number of big hits and overturned wheelchairs.
Coral, a former Yorkshire U19s wheelchair basketball player, was only introduced to wheelchair rugby a few years ago but made an immediate impression. Due to her impressive speed, she was fast tracked into the full GB squad with her first international match in January 2014 at the Tri-Nations tournament in Toronto.
Later in 2014 at the Canada Cup, Coral won best in class – a remarkable achievement for a player with less than a year’s experience in the sport.
Susan Carol, head of the dedicated specialist provision at Bradford Academy, said: “Coral was always very determined and independent. Her success is well deserved and we hope that showing her matches will inspire other learners.”
Dave Haworth, who was head of PE while Coral as at the Academy, commented: “We’re extremely proud of her. She’s always been involved in sports and pushed herself to be the best in everything she attempted.”