Paul McDerby is 27 years old and has Cerebral Palsy which affects all four of his limbs meaning he is a wheelchair user. Despite great adversity due to his condition Paul has fought through the ranks of his local wheelchair rugby club to become team captain. Having found a sport about which he is as passionate as he is talented Paul has gone from strength to strength and has been training with the GB development squad for the last 18months. Inspired to pursue his dream of a career in the sport he has given his all in training both with his home team and the development squad; this has now been recognised and he has the opportunity to secure a place on the Elite Squad with the ultimate goal of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
This month sees Paul travel to the first Elite Squad training camp of the year where the new coaching staff will see all of the previous Elite and Development athletes train and play together with a view to choosing the new squad. He then travels to Germany where he will get his international classification, another important step towards making the Elite Squad list. In April Paul then travels to the Europa Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark to compete against the top teams in Europe.
As well as training several times a week Paul also holds down a job working for O2 as a customer service advisor; a job he enjoys and which also supports his dedication to wheelchair rugby. With the incredible support of his colleagues, friends and family Paul has raised the funds to support his efforts. Using crowdfunding website Go Fund Me he has raised an incredible amount to be able to secure his place at a key tournament – no easy feat!
Massive thanks go to SMARTT as they been instrumental in Paul achieving this by donating an amazing £100 towards the goal amount; the money donated has been put towards essential tournament costs such as equipment and fees.