One month before the start of the International Wheelchair Rugby Cup, Brad Dubberley the head coach of the current World Champion team answered our questions. The Wallabies are advancing as favorites, even though they still don’t have their ticket for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
First question, how is the team feeling with a month to go before the event? Are the players in good shape or are there any injuries at the moment?
Brad Dubburley. “Our team is really looking forward to the Cup next month in Paris. It will be our first event for our High Performance Team since the Asia Oceania’s in Japan in June, so we are really looking forward to competing again.
Our team is going ok, but at IWRC we will not be at full strength and we do have some athletes returning from injuries. Therefore we need to keep things in perspective as this event as it is all a part of our preparation to first qualify and then go on to achieve our ultimate goal at the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.”
You’ve been world champions for a year now. Does this title add any extra pressure before the IWRC and, of course, the Games?
B.D. “Yes, we did win World Championships last year in Denmark, which was an incredible achievement for our team. It is great to think back to the success there, however we have had to move on quickly as we had to refocus to first trying to qualify and then best preparing for the 2024 Paralympics.
Our sport has never been so competitive where so many teams are capable of beating one another and this intern has not only made our sport more attractive to watch it has also pushed us all to be better. We always have very high expectations of ourselves and therefore just because we are the current World Champions, I do not feel it has put any extra pressure on our team.“
Our priority and intention is use this event to continue to improve as a team
The competition will be very tight. How are you preparing for the competition?
B.D. “The competition is extremely tight nowadays which is great for our sport with so many teams capable of winning. As much as we would love to win this event, it is not our sole focus. Our priority and intention is use this event to continue to improve as a team, learn as much as possible about ourselves and opponents to best position ourselves so when we come back next year for the Paralympics, we are ready to perform to the best of our ability and compete for Paralympic Gold.“
What are the next deadlines and what are your team’s most important areas for improvement?
B.D. “This will not be the last International event for our team prior to Paralympics, as we still need to qualify for the 2024 Paris Paralympics via a qualification tournament in early 2024. Should we qualify, we will then also attend the 2024 Canada Cup as a key part of our final preparations. Our team is constantly seeking, exploring and working extremely hard to improve in numerous areas, as our sport is continuously evolving and we want to be one of the driving forces that creates these changes.”
Finally, what is your team’s number one objective for the IWRC?
B.D. “Our teams number one objective for IWRC is to gain as much information possible about ourselves and our opponents. As this will help us answer many questions we have, guide selection decisions for upcoming events and ultimately help us continue to build and improve.”