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International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament 2022

By Ursula Kearney

IMAS (International Mixed Ability Sport), a non-profit organisation, is the driving force behind International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART). It encourages the Mixed Ability Model by using it to break down barriers in sport participation, promote social inclusion, and to generate long-term positive change in communities.

The Mixed Ability Model emphasises regular, frequent activities, club memberships, and opportunities for social interaction for everyone. Participants are from a wide range of background and abilities. They can share experiences and have the chance to learn through interactive and accessible training structures. This allows for sporting environments that are safe and welcoming to all with no judgement.

Mixed Ability Rugby grew from a lack of provision or opportunities for disabled participants to play the sport. Players with different levels of physical and learning disabilities began playing in the same 15-a-side rugby team abiding by standard World Rugby Laws.

The International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament 2022 (IMART 2022) was held in Cork, Ireland between the 5th and 10th of June. This was the third running of the competition after a postponement due to Covid-19. It has previously been held in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain and Bradford, England.

In the first-ever competition in Bradford, England, they had roughly 400 players from ten different countries competing. This year, they had over 1100 players from 28 teams and 14 countries competing. There are currently seven mixed-ability rugby teams in Ireland.

As part of the IMART 2022 competition, the first Women’s Mixed Ability Rugby was held. There were teams from Ireland, Spain, and the Italian Harlequins Latinas (with players from Ecuador and Argentina).

This year also had the introduction of Mixed Ability Week (MAW). This saw Mixed Ability competitions being held in a number of additional sports such as rowing, football and boxing. Like the rugby tournament, various international teams travelled to compete. This is all part of a movement to advocate for more inclusive sports and competing opportunities.

For further information on IMART and IMAS click on the links below:
Link 1
Link 2

Alternatively, if you need further information on how to make facilities or services more accessible and inclusive, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected]