ISPS HANDA Give Backing To Wheelchair Rugby Championships

ISPS HANDA Give Backing To Wheelchair Rugby Championships 1920 1280 ISPS Handa

“How full-on is wheelchair rugby?” It’s the question that Conor Tweedy was asked most often in the lead-up to the Wheelchair Rugby National Championships on Australia’s Gold Coast.

He doesn’t pause for a moment.

“It’s definitely full-on, full-contact. How much force do you need to put a crack in titanium?,” Tweedy says with a smile.

Tweedy’s titanium wheelchair was indeed in for repairs recently and that was only from a training collision with the chair of dual Paralympian Chris Bond.

Tweedy is playing for the Queensland Tornadoes in Division Two at the nationals which are underway at the Gold Coast Sport & Leisure Centre at Carrara until Sunday.

ISPS HANDA is a support sponsor of the tournament and the backing will help make it “the best nationals yet held” according to Wheelchair Rugby Australia Chief Executive Chris Nay.

Tweedy’s competitive instincts thrive in wheelchair rugby. He has never fallen out of love with rugby even though he suffered a spinal cord injury in a scrum collapse playing Second XV rugby for St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace in 2018.

“I was watching my school team play a week later on livestream from my hospital bed. I’ve never lost my love of rugby,” Tweedy said.

“My school and my family made things as smooth as possible during a difficult time because I know things could have been different in different surroundings.”

Now 21, the power of “team” through his peer group, his school, rugby and family have fortified his positive outlook.

“Wheelchair rugby is just a fun team sport. There’s a very good group involved in Queensland,” Tweedy said.

“There’s the perfect amount of competitiveness on court where there is nothing social about it. Off the court, we are all mates.”

Tweedy is back from a few months at the University of Arizona and there is the possibility of a full-time scholarship to study and play in the US.

For now, all energies are on the nationals.

“You know any NSW team with Ryley Batt is going to be red hot. The Victorians have a wildcard with British Paralympian Stu Robinson playing, the Kiwis are a dark horse and the Queensland Cyclones have come together very well,” Tweedy said.

“It’s cool to represent Queensland at the nationals when my father (Sean) played rugby for Queensland. 

“I’m still relatively new to a sport where it takes years to build up the specific groups of muscles and skills needed to progress. The pace of the game increases every time you step up levels.

“The Paralympics is obviously the goal but whether that’s Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 or Brisbane 2032, in my home city, you just keep working away.”