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Great Britain Takes a Trip Down Under

World-class parasport team experiences the ease of Sargood on Collaroy together.

“Our team has travelled around the world and never been to a place so accessible and friendly. The vibe you feel when you walk in is truly unique. We went from training to relaxing seamlessly without having to think about it. The team could not feel any better prepared going into a competition.” – Paul Shaw, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Head Coach

Sargood on Collaroy hosted the Great Britain wheelchair rugby team in the lead up to the largest international wheelchair rugby event of the year, the IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championships.

The moment the team entered the doors of the resort, they knew they were about to experience something different.

According to Paul Shaw, head coach of the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team, “When I walked in the overwhelming feeling was just ‘Wow!’ I could hear the players behind me all going ‘I can’t believe we are here!’ and ‘I can’t believe we are doing this!’ From the moment we walked in everyone was excited to explore more of the resort.”

The team used their time at Sargood on Collaroy to relax and train in the lead up to the Championship, which were hosted in Sydney from the 5-10 August 2018.

The common challenge of accessibility for parasport teams

It can be difficult for parasport teams to find somewhere to stay that is able to accommodate multiple people with spinal cord injuries. More often than not, teams are forced to split up between venues or adapt to rooms that are not fully accessible. Paul Shaw recalls previous experiences that made it difficult for the team to prepare ahead of competition.

“I remember attending other world championships as a wheelchair rugby player and the hotels we stayed at were awful.  It was difficult to get into the bath and roll our wheelchairs over the carpets. They even put our team in non-accessible communal bathrooms with only a shower curtain to separate the toilets and shower areas,” said Paul.

To avoid these issues, Paul and his team undertake rigorous research and planning before travelling.

“Typically we do in-depth background checks on hotels to see how accessible they are. Accommodation has come a long way in the last 20 years, but we still anticipate that there will be certain things we need to work around.”

At Sargood on Collaroy the team was able to experience something unique compared other places they have stayed at because everything felt easy.

“At Sargood on Collaroy we didn’t need to manage anything ourselves. The staff are amazing and everything was completely seamless. It was easy for all of us to have a fantastic time.”

Sharing breakfast as a team

The spacious common areas at Sargood on Collaroy are clutter-free with easy-to-navigate floor surfaces. These features make it easy for large groups who visit the resort to spend time together.

During their stay, the communal kitchen area became a meeting place for the Great Britain wheelchair rugby team, who shared breakfast together each morning.

“The kitchen was definitely a highlight for us. Every morning there were about 12 wheelchairs rolling around the kitchen area, yet at no point did it feel crowded,” said Paul.