Rugby star Hannah Bucys has been selected for a prestigious sporting programme and will follow Paralympic greats Ellie Simmonds, Hollie Arnold, and Ade Adepitan.

Bucys says the sport gave her a new lease of life after a freak accident turned her world upside down and she has now been singled out by charity SportsAid as an athlete with the potential to reach the very top.

The 21-year-old represented England as a gymnast but suffered a spinal cord injury during a club training session at the end of 2018 which forced her to quit the sport.

Through her rehab, Bucys came across a wheelchair rugby team and six years on, she is targeting a Paralympic appearance.

(Image: Hannah Bucys)

“I’ve just been selected for the GB wheelchair rugby talent squad, which is the development team, so that's very exciting and my goal is to eventually be part of the elite team,” said Oldham's Bucys.

“Hopefully one day I’ll compete internationally and go to a Paralympic Games which would be absolutely amazing. That's my ultimate dream.”

Bucys, who graduated earlier this year from the University of Hull with a physiotherapy degree, never expected to find a sport which could replace what trampolining meant to her.

“I didn't even know wheelchair rugby existed before my spinal cord injury,” she said.

“It's a life changing event and everything changes but I wanted to find my love of sport again and I’ve definitely found that through wheelchair rugby.

“It's given me that love and I’m so glad I’ve found it.

“It's given me a focus, a purpose. It's enjoyable, and the team is just fantastic.

“I'm quite a driven person, and it gives me a target to work towards and I'm wanting to better myself all the time.

“It's a team sport as well and with trampoline while we were in a team, you compete on your own, so to transition from more of an individual sport to a team sport, it’s working with other people, working with your teammates, and achieving together.

“It’s just a really nice community and you can see how you can progress and learn from each other as well. I’ve made friends for life from rugby, not just in my own team but other teams as well.”

Bucys is one of 50 athletes supported by a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multimillion-pound grassroots sport programme established by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.

These athletes are Great Britain's brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria from each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities.

“I was excited when I found out SportsAid would be supporting me,” said Bucys. “I was just extremely grateful. It's an incredible opportunity.

“I'm very thankful that I get this opportunity and to make the most of it and see where I can get with it.

“Hopefully one day I’ll compete internationally and go to a Paralympic Games which would be absolutely amazing, that's my ultimate dream.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.