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Kent wheelchair rugby star David Barber dreaming of spot at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

By KentOnline reporter

Kent wheelchair rugby ace David Barber has not ruled out competing at Tokyo 2020 and admits it would be “beyond his wildest dreams” if he makes the Great Britain squad.

The 19-year-old from Canterbury, who has cerebral palsy, was first introduced to the sport when Paralympian Steve Brown came to his school to give a presentation about it.

Barber was instantly hooked by the idea of being able to crash into his competitors and got in touch with Brown before being selected for the GB deferment squad.

David Barber (12057266)
David Barber (12057266)

While the Canterbury College student believes the 2024 Paralympics are probably more of a realistic goal, he insists he will continue to push for a place on the plane to Tokyo.

Barber said: “I never thought that I would get into wheelchair rugby when I was first approached by Steve but now I’m in the deferment squad I just want to keep pushing and try to get there.”

“My biggest achievement to date is reaching a GB deferment competition as I flew over to Germany and played in the competition with the team and we finished fourth.

“It’s the stage under the elite squad and I could get picked for an Olympics or another major championship at any time so it’s a great position to be in.

“We are currently in our close season now but I will still be training through the rest of the year and trying to get to the Olympics next year if I can.

“I will be playing at my club level and hopefully still in the GB deferment squad so that I could potentially be selected for Tokyo 2020, although 2024 is more realistic.

“It’s up to the coaches at the end of the day but I feel I am good enough to play at Olympic level. To play at an Olympic Games would beyond my wildest dreams.”

Barber was speaking at a SportsAid workshop being hosted in partnership with GVC – the multi-national sports betting and gaming group – at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

GVC are supporting 50 athletes across 33 sports, with each one receiving a financial award and personal development opportunities through SportsAid, including support around nutrition, mentoring and media training.

Olympian Leon Taylor and Paralympian Millie Knight, who are both SportsAid alumni, were also on hand at the workshop to share their experiences of elite level sport.

Taylor, who delivered a mentoring session, said: “I’ve been involved with SportsAid for many years as an ambassador and it started when I received a SportsAid award as a young athlete.

“I really know how much of a difference getting that recognition can make. I’m supporting the cause now as a retired athlete because I know what the journey is like.”

GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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