Paul Jenkins – coach of the Invictus Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team and South Wales Pirates – has been rewarded for his career as a Wheelchair Rugby Coach.
A former Welsh Guards Instructor, Jenkins had a motorbike crash after he left the military, leaving him tetraplegic. In 1990 he took up wheelchair rugby and quickly became hooked, forging a successful sports career where he competed in the 1996 Paralympic Games.
On his retirement from the sport he took up coaching for the South Wales Pirates and earlier this year coached the winning GB side in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, a success he considers the pinnacle of his coaching career. “It offered me a different side to coaching” he comments, “the players had had different traumas, some had limbs missing, and others hadn’t used a wheelchair before. We had them for just 10 sessions over three months, yet they won Gold.”
David Pond, Chief Executive GBWR comments, “It’s fitting to see someone of Paul’s calibre honoured in this way. He has been one of a small group of volunteers who have been instrumental in the development of the sport in the UK. He can feel rightly proud of the recognition the sport is now achieving and the opportunities it is providing to many individuals, not least those honourable warriors injured in the service of their nation’Paul Jenkins continues, “Wheelchair Rugby showed me how much I could do without assistance. It helped me with the pent up tension and frustration you can get when you are in a wheelchair and helped me move on with my life. It’s a fabulous sport and I’d go anywhere to coach it.”
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