Hockey: Wells quartet dominate England ParaHockey squad for Euro 2019
26th June 2019
FOUR players from Tunbridge Wells Hockey Club have been invited to represent England at the Euro ParaHockey Championships in August.
Tim Cooney, Skye Macro, Frazer Hare and Seb Brooks have been picked among the 12 players for the event in Antwerp, Belgium.
Organised by the European Hockey Federation, the tournament will run alongside the main EuroHockey Championships.
The presence of the quartet in the England squad, making up a third of the players, is a testament to the local club’s ground-breaking Flyerz initiative – the first of its kind in Kent.
Seb said: “I just can’t believe I got picked. I want change, I want to succeed in life.”
And team mate Fraser Hare added: “I’ve been playing Flyerz for 15 months and really enjoy it every time, coming to play with the other teams, defending, using different skills.”
Flyerz was set up after the London Olympics in 2012 to provide opportunities for players of all ages with learning and physical disabilities.
In 2017, Midland Mencap Flyerz won gold for England in their division at the Euros in Holland.
'The whole thing about Flyerz is that it’s not really about disability, actually it’s to show the abilities that all these disabled children have'
Building upon that success, Access Sport and England Hockey (EH) have announced a multi-club team for the biennial championship.
An EH spokesperson said: “Midland Mencap created an opportunity for incredible visibility and showcased the depth of opportunities that Flyerz provides players to play at every level, from grassroots to international competition.
“The team inspired so many individuals and clubs to get involved with Flyerz. This growth has enabled us to enter our first combined team.”
Wells men’s captain Francis Bridgeman and Steve Bradley of Midland are coaching them.
Francis said: “I am so proud of all these youngsters – it’s amazing for them and way beyond what we could have imagined when we started back in 2017.
“The whole thing about Flyerz is that it’s not really about disability, actually it’s to show the abilities that all these disabled children have, which is what’s so great to see.”
Olympic gold medallists Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh are Flyerz ambassadors and said: “Congratulations to all selected for Team England Flyerz. It is great to see the continued growth of Flyerz and therefore the number of clubs being represented.”