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University of Worcester Students Star on European Stage

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University of Worcester students past and present played key roles as one Midlands team excelled at a recent elite disability sport event in Paris.

The Sporting Club Albion (SCA) Powerchair football team finished third in the sport’s Champions Cup in the French capital last month, with Sports Coaching graduate Adam Crowle managing the side, which was captained by Sports Business Management student Chris Gordon.

SCA is affiliated with Premier League club West Bromwich Albion, and Adam acts the organisation’s Disability Development Officer, delivering a range of sporting opportunities to introduce disabled people to high level coaching and competitive sport.

Of the recent tournament, he says: “Chris and the rest of the team did really well. Our initial aim was to reach the quarter-finals, so to reach the semi-finals and win our third place play-off was a great achievement.

“Both the players and the coaches took a great deal from the experience – we had played a couple of the French teams about three years ago, and they were surprised by how much we’d improved this time around.”

Powerchair sees teams of four players using power wheelchairs face each other on a basketball court. The sport was first played in France in the 1970s and is popular across Europe, with the Champions Cup representing the pinnacle of club competition.

Chris, who is set to graduate later on this year, adds: “The tournament went really well for us – especially given the tough draw we had. We went through the group stage unbeaten and managed to get past a really good Belgian side in the last eight.

“We upped our game for that match and ran out 2-0 winners, but we couldn’t quite repeat that performance in the semi-final. We were heartbroken to go out after such a fantastic run, but we picked ourselves up and rallied to win our third-place play-off on penalties.”

Chris’s travel and accommodation costs for the tournament were partly funded by a University of Worcester Scholarship, which also meant he was able to upgrade his playing chair – something which he says he would have found ‘extremely difficult’ to fund independently.

Adam – whose role at Sporting Club Albion sees him work with disabled youngsters across the club’s local area – says he too has plenty of reasons to be grateful to the University of Worcester, after his passion for disability sport was nurtured during his Sports Coaching degree.

“My interest in disabled sport really developed and evolved during my final two years at Worcester,” he explains. “I took the Disability Coaching module and was able to gain some great knowledge and experience, and it’s thanks to Glyn Harding and his team that I was able to take this interest further.”