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.