Nino Severino: Suffolk sporting community comes together to welcome England Deaf Rugby
- Credit: Archant
In his latest column, Nino Severino welcomes an international rugby side to Suffolk.
Ipswich now has its very own equivalent of an EIS (English Institute of Sport) World Class Centre – it might not be as big as the mega venue in Sheffield, but we are slowly making a serious noise in the world of elite programme support through The Hub, Centre of Excellence at the University of Suffolk.
As Director of The Hub, I am super excited to announce that we now have three national and British teams basing their sports science support with us.
One of the teams we are now very proud to support is England Deaf Rugby, who are committed to ensuring that all, including young children who suffer from deafness or hearing impairment, have the opportunity to be included in this wonderful sport.
One of our network of talented professionals at the hub, Wez Pooley, was instrumental in setting up our link – he plays for the Welsh Deaf Rugby team, and has done so since 2004, winning the World Cup 7’s in Australia in 2018.
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Wez was key in actually setting up the international deaf rugby sides and it was through him that we arranged for the England teams to visit us in Suffolk.
This was a chance for me as hub director to have an effect on a large group of elite athletes who do not benefit from the vast pool of resources that professional rugby players would have access to.
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This event also tested the other exciting and valuable force that is being created in Ipswich – the fact that sports with incredible resources and those with very little can come together to create something special.
When I refer to this, I am talking about Ipswich Town Football Club – I approached them for support, namely Lee O’Neil who managers the academy set up.
I explained to him the we had a national team visiting Ipswich, and The Hub wanted to ensure that they had a great welcome to our town – without hesitation he agreed to support us.
The university also played its part, ensuring that the team had the use of our amazing lecture theatres and of course the state of the art Hub.
Both us and Town needed to put on special provisions to make the event happen, which included opening up the training ground at Playford Road and the Hub on the Waterfront on a day that would normally have seen both venues closed and unmanned.
I and all of Team Hub – an 8-man back room staff – all waited in the foyer at the university for the men’s and women’s deaf rugby team to arrive, and when they did, what an arrival it was.
45 rugby players came through the doors on the waterfront, and to be honest, I have never witnessed such a mass of athletic talent, there were some seriously big units amongst this elite group of athletes!
The teams enjoyed two presentations in our university lecture theatres, one on Programme Management and the other on Performance Nutrition, a full testing programme in The Hub, and then it was on to Playford Road Training Ground, the home of the Town Academy for an incredible extension of the testing programme and an opportunity to train under cover in the Ipswich Town Dome.
Its been an absolute pleasure to write my first column of 2019, and I’m very proud of the many individuals at the University of Suffolk and Ipswich Town who went above and beyond to ensure the England Deaf Rugby players enjoyed such exceptional support from our region’s sporting community.
- You can follow England Deaf Rugby on social media - Twitter: @deafrugby, Facebook: England Deaf Rugby Union, Instagram: @englanddeafrugby