Saracens Wheelchair Rugby Club – in partnership with Allianz player, Paul ‘Midge’ Hartley has been selected to represent Team UK at the 2020 Invictus Games.
Hartley is part of a 65-strong squad that will head out to The Hague next May and take on teams from 18 other nations including the USA and Australia.
As well as wheelchair rugby, Hartley has also been selected in hand cycling, where he will take part in the Time Trial Criterium.
Hartley, who was diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) in 2007, first took up wheelchair rugby in November 2017.
His condition led to his discharge from the Royal Air Force in 2013 and he found that he became less active before trying out wheelchair rugby at an Invictus Games taster session.
“Playing wheelchair rugby has allowed me to regain my confidence and rediscover who I once was. This approach has been highly positive, and I now think more about what I can achieve, and how I can challenge my condition, rather than being defined by it.”
He has gone on to represent the UK Team at the Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida, participating in the Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Basketball, Sitting Volleyball and Recumbent Cycling. He has also been selected to represent Scotland at Wheelchair Rugby League.
Hartley credits with Saracens Wheelchair Rugby Club with helping his progression in the sport, saying:
“With regards to my own performance, the backing Saracens and Allianz have provided cannot be emphasised enough. I have improved so much over the last year and the support provided has been a major contributor to all I have achieved this year.
“I have been very fortunate to have been allowed to use my club wheelchair outside of our weekly training sessions. This has allowed me to further enhance my own fitness and chair skills.”
“I have improved both physically and mentally and participating with Saracens Wheelchair Rugby Club has provided me with the opportunity to achieve my goals and hopefully inspire others.”
To find out more about Saracens Wheelchair Rugby Club – In Partnership with Allianz, head over to the Saracens Sport Foundation website: https://www.saracenssportfoundation.org/our-programmes/disability/saracens-wheelchair-rugby-club-in-partnership-with-allianz/