Following the disappointment of having to withdraw from the recent Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup due to not being able to train because of Covid restrictions, Norway Rugby League has held a hugely successful taster day in the student city of Sogndal, seven hours north of Oslo.
Using the impressive Sogndal dome, a large indoor artificial grass pitch arena, players from across the region came to train and be introduced to the sport, including refugees from the area who were keen to borrow kit and get involved.
As part of the day, introductory sessions to Wheelchair RL took place on the handball court upstairs under the auspices of Norway wheelchair head coach Martin Beddis who ran four sessions, all of which were enthusiastically received and also attracted interest from the media and local politician Vibeke Johnsen.
“It was a really successful day, there were over 40 people involved in the sessions,” said Beddis. “Across them all you could see significant improvement in terms of ball handling and manoeuvrability. There’s a real opportunity to embed wheelchair rugby league in the municipality and especially within the go-ahead Sogndal club.”
Beddis added: “There is renewed vigour for wheelchair over here after having to miss out on the last World Cup, but great hopes that we will be involved come the next one in 2025. We have already arranged another session here and are looking forward to qualifying coaches to help with the local delivery.”
Each of the groups progressed within their hour's rotation to playing simple games of "touch" with one of the most impressive players being a 15-year-old girl, Oda, who had no previous rugby experience and impressed with her chair skills.
Eight wheelchairs and other equipment have been left In Sogndal for future training.