"Rugby has given me the confidence and support to embrace and live as my true self"
The Oshawa Vikings Mixed Ability Rugby Team is headed to Cork, Ireland for the 2022 International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament. Our 2022 Gilbert Champion, Tek Ang, shares a little about what Mixed Ability Rugby is, and some links to learn more about the game if you are interested in getting involved.
From Ang Tek:
“Why Mixed Ability?
Mixed Ability is breaking one of the last barriers in Rugby towards a fully inclusive Sport. Mixed Ability is about having everyone play together as a team: "Everyone is just a teammate". Being involved in the program in the past two years, these so-called 'disabled" people have been teaching me to be a better person and to appreciate the little and precious things in life. For example, in our so-called enlightened science based medical society, we consider Autism as a disability. Takiwātanga is Maori's word for Autism, which means "In their own time and space", which is a much better reflection of what and how these group of special individual interact with their outside world. Elliot motto is "Autism is a strategy, not a tragedy".
Mixed Ability is about including everyone. The Canadian team going to the tournament consisted of players from different background; the one with visible disabilities (e.g. spectrums of Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy), the ones with invisible disabilities (Asperger, learning disability, ADHD), a legally blind lady, a 67 years old lady, college rugby champions, former Canada Junior players, former provincial players, old boys players. We are all one team.”
Here are a few links if you are interested to learn more or to follow the progress:
- IMART 2022 CORK: https://www.imartworldcup.org/
- The official website of the tournament
- Vikings Road to IMART: https://www.instagram.com/vikingsroadto_imart/
- The team’s IG account as they share what Mixed Ability Rugby is, their preparation, and now counting down to the tournament.
- CBC Radio Fresh Air: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-193-fresh-air/clip/15915508-everybody-teammate-canada-sends-its-ever-mixed-ability
- CBC Radio interviewed a couple of the players.
- Jeff's answers reflect how everyone (including Tek Ang) feel about being involved in Mixed Ability Rugby.
Highlights from 2022-05-15 Oshawa Vikings Rugby Club Mixed Ability vs Toronto Muddy York RFC as the Vikings are preparing for International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (Tek Ang)
Mixed Ability Sports is a growing movement started in the UK a few years ago and have been increasing significantly in the past couple of years:
- International Mixed Ability Sports: https://www.mixedabilitysports.org/
- The governing body that connects various bodies around the world.
- You can learn the history.
- Mixed Ability Sports: https://abilitiescentre.org/programs/mixed-ability-sport
- Canada based of Mixed Ability Sports, runs out of Abilities Centre in Whitby.
- Reach out to them if you are interest to learn about how you can start a Mixed Ability Rugby in your club.
- A Time and Space for Takiwātanga : https://www.altogetherautism.org.nz/a-time-and-space-for-takiwatanga/
- A background information on Takiwātanga
- Autism Spectrum: Atypical Minds in a Stereotypical World: https://youtu.be/j3PrAqJ-H9k
- A background information on Autism.
I am an active member of Oshawa Vikings, involving in various roles (club management, player for Old Boys and Mixed Ability, Coach for Mixed Ability and photographer). I am also a part of Southern Ontario Mercenaries; a old boys touring team consisted of mostly Oshawa and Cobourg players, with a few from other clubs. Outside of the club, I volunteer through my photography to help grow other Rugby clubs, such as Cobourg Saxons and Iroquois Roots Rugby. I have been taking action photos for Toronto Arrows, Durham Lords, Rugby Ontario, Toronto Wolfpack and Judo Ontario.