Prior to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Great Britain had never won a Paralympic medal in Wheelchair Rugby. Now they are not only Paralympic champions but also European Champions. Great Britain team member Kylie Grimes was the first female athlete in the sport to win a Paralympics gold medal. She is a low-point Wheelchair Rugby athlete, whose team has qualified for The World Games 2022. More than deservedly, Kylie Grimes is The World Games Athlete of November 2022!
Kylie Grimes is a triple Paralympian of the London, Rio and Tokyo Games. While she competed in Athletics (club throw) in Rio, her love for team sports saw her return to her first love, wheelchair rugby. She started playing for the London Wheelchair Rugby Club in 2010, and for Great Britain in 2011. In 2012 she qualified for her first Paralympics in London in which the team finished fifth. In 2021 the team won gold in Tokyo. When wheelchair rugby has its debut at The World Games 2022, the discipline will be Low Point Wheelchair Rugby, where athletes with impairment classes 0.5 (most severe), 1.0 and 1.5 take part, on a scale that goes up to 3.5. Wheelchair Rugby is a mixed team sport, but most players are men.
Grimes says that playing with and against predominantly male wheelchair rugby teams makes no difference to her. "I don't consider myself as anything other than a rugby player. [The men] hit me just as hard, make me work just as much as them, they don't treat me any differently and that's exactly the way it should be.”
An athlete, show jumper, and aspiring Olympian all her life, within just three years of her life-changing spinal injury in 2006 Kylie Grimesreturned to competitive sport by cycling 450 km, from Vietnam to Cambodia, to raise money for Regain, a charity dedicated to helping get newly injured tetraplegics back into sport. Having undergone a remarkably swift personal rehabilitation herself, she now seeks to help others do the same, and continues to undertake sponsored rides around the world for Regain. "After my accident I knew I had to get straight back into sport, not only for the health benefits and to get physically strong again, but because of the social aspect and being around people. It really helped me to focus on something and work towards a goal. I was hooked on the fast pace and extreme full contact between the rugby chairs. I had to play this sport."
Kylie Grimes says that sport has saved her life: “My experiences since 2006 – and particularly my journey back to sport, teamwork, and a strong relationship with my body – have helped me to overcome many obstacles in my life, and sharing the lessons I’ve learned to help motivate and inspire others is a huge honour. It’s so important for those with life-changing injuries to know that life goes on, and so can they. It’s equally important for sportsmen and women of all levels of ability to be reminded of what’s possible, and all that they are lucky to have: a team, a mission, a life to live to the fullest. You just have to go out there and get it.”
Kylie Grimes was named the ‘2014 Sports Personality with an Impairment of the Year’ at the Farnham Sports Awards in England.
As The World Games Athlete of the Month, Kylie Grimes will receive The World Games Athlete of the Month diploma as well as a branded gift from the Official Sponsor of Athlete of the Month, Protective Life.
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For more information about Protective, please visit www.Protective.com.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and over 100 countries will take part in The World Games.