Wheelchair skills put to the test

Top: Robyn Lambird-Walton plays for the State wheelchair rugby team West Coast Enforcers. Above: Lambird-Walton in action.
Top: Robyn Lambird-Walton plays for the State wheelchair rugby team West Coast Enforcers. Above: Lambird-Walton in action.

‘Plus I’m just as aggressive as the boys,’ she said.

The Tapping 16-year-old has been playing for the State wheelchair rugby team for about a year, representing WA in the national competition held last May in Brisbane, but was previously playing wheelchair basketball where she also represented the State in junior and women’s national competitions.

‘While I was training, I noticed the rugby guys training and thought it looked fun,’ she said.

‘They invited me to join in a training session and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

‘I love the team atmosphere and the intensity of the game ” basically I love smashing into people.’

Having just finished her Year 11 exams, Robyn said the biggest challenge had been balancing school, training and ‘working hard to build up the strength needed to be a dominant player’.

She said the team had to commit to two fitness sessions and a local league game per week and she also tried to fit in at least two gym sessions to focus on strength and conditioning.

‘I really want to get noticed for the national squad as soon as possible, with my eye on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics ” that is my dream,’ she said.

This Thursday Robyn wil takea break from serious training to take part in a charity match organised by her dad, Stephen Walton.

The West Coast Enforcers will take on a team of mixed martial arts gym members, most of whom have never sat in a wheelchair before.

‘Wheelchair rugby is an exciting and skilled game and I thought it would be a great opportunity for our team at M1FC to get involved, raise some awareness for the sport and try something they have never done before,’ the Joondalup gym co-owner said.

Stephen said the M1FC team of 10 members would have a one-hour training session with the Enforcers to learn how to use a rugby wheelchair and the rules of the game.

‘I think the team will get a lot from the game and it will be a brand new experience for them having to use a piece of equipment they have never used before and see the world from a different viewpoint,’ he said.

‘It encourages a better understanding of the skills involved for the wheelchair athletes.’

Robyn said she was excited to show the M1FC members what they do and have the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for the Enforcers.

‘I think, like anything you try for the first time, it’s going to be a challenge for them,’ she said.

‘It’s always good to integrate able-bodied and disabled players so they get an idea of what it is like to be in a chair and what it’s like playing sports from a different perspective ” it’s a good tool for raising awareness.’

The essentials
WHAT: Wheelchair rugby charity match
WHO:West Coast Enforcers vs M1FC
WHEN: 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Thursday, December 5
WHERE: Herb Graham Recreational Centre, Mirrabooka
COST: Gold coin donation
INFO: wheelchairsportswa.org.au