Blog — IMART

Elliot's Experience and Rugby for All!

Elliot's Experience and Rugby for All!

I play as a prop on the Oshawa Vikings Men’s Mixed Ability Rugby Team. I play this position because I am a bigger, stronger guy that is healthy, exercises a lot and even learns how to tackle some of the biggest guys to the ground without getting hurt.
Mixed Ability is a sports program where players with and without disabilities play together where everyone is included, where everyone is treated the same, and where everyone is welcome. Playing on the Oshawa Vikings makes me feel happy and excited because I can make friends from all over the world when we do international tours and so I find it’s very inclusive to people with special needs. I have never felt so included as they accept me like one of the guys too.
You see I have faced many barriers in sports growing up. The barriers that I faced playing sport were that I was never included on any sport team all because people around me in high school knew that I had a disability and I was never included into any tournaments, nor did I ever get picked to be on any  any school sports teams. As I found out about leagues like Durham Region Challenger Baseball, Pickering Soccer Club, Oshawa Vikings Rugby Club, and Archery 2 You, people at those leagues started to include me and they even helped me better understand my accommodations, as well as my needs and wants too. Mixed Ability Sport helped remove those barriers and taught me the sky is the limit and nothing is impossible.
I have been playing rugby for three years now. I was able to represent my own country as I went to Cork, Ireland alongside with my teammates last summer and was able to participate in the IMART Tournament (International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament) in June of 2022. The following year this past May 2023, I was selected alongside with 4 other teammates from the Vikings to be a MARI (Mixed Ability Rugby Invitational) to play a select tournament in Belfast. The MARI team is by invite only and athletes from all over the world get picked to come together to form one team. We only had 2 days to practice and get to know each other before playing the big game. For IMART, our Mixed Ability team came in 2nd out of 24 other countries after only training contact for 6 months. We lost the MARI tournament to the Malone Tornadoes, but it was an incredible experience! I wrote a book about the IMART tournament called Mateo’s Mixed Ability Match and am now writing a second book called Mateo’s MARI Match about my experience on the MARI’s team.
IMART was fun because I enjoyed memorable moments, like making friends from other parts of the world, as well as chanting “ooh ahh, shoot the boot” multiple times after scoring my very first international try at the tournament. What happened was that I shot coke out of a game used dirty-rugby boot after scoring my very first game-winning try at the tournament. It is a real rugby tradition and I have never been able to experience this sort of stuff before. Being selected to the MARI’s team was an even bigger honour because it is by invitation only and you have to show that you have passion, commitment and like to help grow the game of rugby in order to be selected. For both tours I got to go to Ireland and that was also an experience in and of itself as I had never been to Ireland before.
My important message that I want to give to others who think they can’t play rugby is to get active, enjoy life, have fun, be healthy, and join a rugby team that is close to within your area so you can feel like that you are a part of a team. It will help your confidence and make you feel like you can achieve anything.      

The Oshawa Vikings Mixed Ability Rugby team is making history!

The Oshawa Vikings Mixed Ability Rugby team is making history!


 Ang Tek who is involved in the club shares more about the Mixed Ability Tournament. To support the team follow @vikingsroadto_imart  / @vikingsrugbyrfc on Instagram and share their stories! 

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:

      • 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:


Instagram: @angtekgiephotography

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.




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