KYLIE GRIMES is back with her wheelchair rugby ‘family’ and ready to sit at the summit of the Paralympic podium after being officially selected for this summer’s Games.  

Part of the British team, Grimes finished fifth at London 2012 before making the switch to para-athletics and coming fourth in the F51 club throw in Rio.
This summer she is back competing in rugby for Tokyo and reckons being picked for a third Games feels just as special as the first.

Grimes, one of over 1,000 athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, said: “This one is a little bit special.
“I'm back with the boys after having a little timeout in Rio and going to athletics. I'm back with my family.   

“It's absolutely incredible and I can't wait to pull on that GB vest once more and represent my country with the boys because it's an amazing feeling and one that you can never take for granted.”  

UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme allows Grimes, 33, to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.  

After transitioning back to wheelchair rugby, the Farnham native – who was born in Aldershot – has relished being back in a team environment.

She added: “To be back with the team is pretty amazing because you can't really get any better than a team sport that clicks.
“The atmosphere within wheelchair rugby as a team is just incredible because it's so physical and we all want the same thing. 

Ealing Times: Grimes was one of only two women to compete in wheelchair rugby at London 2012.Grimes was one of only two women to compete in wheelchair rugby at London 2012.

“I was always pretty confident that I'd slot back in and I'd fit with the boys because I train with them for London Wheelchair Rugby Club, so I see the boys quite a lot.   

“But you never quite know where the team direction is going and who's going to be selected. So you've always got to work as hard as you possibly can to get your slot for that team.”  

While Great Britain are the reigning European champions, Grimes is aiming to pick up her maiden Paralympic medal and add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997.  

GB’s 2019 triumph at the European Championships was followed by victory at the Four Nations in the USA, where Grimes and her side toppled some of the best teams on the planet to instill them with a fresh dose of confidence for Tokyo.  

Grimes is optimistic about the increase in female competitors in the sport and believes gender equality in wheelchair rugby is on a firmly upwards trajectory.

“It is incredible the number of females we now have in the sport,” she added.
“When I first started there were only a few women in Britain, only a few in Europe and there are now loads in the USA and there are loads in Europe.

“If every girl is selected, I believe there will be four or five at this Games.”  

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo