Freya Levy: Great Britain wheelchair basketball and para ice hockey player turns her hand to rugby league | Rugby League News


Freya Levy is set to make her England debut against France this week

Freya Levy is set to make her England debut against France this week

It is difficult to imagine there is anything Freya Levy has turned her hand to which she has not excelled at, judging by what she has already achieved in the sporting sphere.

A county-level football and rugby union player prior to being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, the 25-year-old has since gone on to represent Great Britain at both wheelchair basketball and para ice hockey.

Since 2018, Levy has been playing wheelchair rugby league, too, and on Wednesday night will become a fully-fledged international in a third sport when she takes to the field for the first of England’s two Test matches against France at Medway Park in Gillingham.

“A family friend had a match and they needed extra players,” Levy said, recalling how she got started in wheelchair rugby league. “They knew I played basketball and could compete in a chair.

“So, they asked me to come down and I gave it a go and really fell in love. It’s kind of picked up from there.

“The tactics were probably the hardest thing to learn – I’m a southerner and kind of used to union, so I definitely had to learn a lot of a lot of the skills for rugby league.

“I did find it quite simple to kind of slot into, but obviously it becomes more challenging at this level so I’m really up for that challenge.”

England vs France fixtures (at Medway Park)

Wednesday, November 10 (kick-off 6.30pm)
Saturday, November 13 (kick-off 4pm)

Since discovering a talent for this game as well, Levy has become one of the stars of the Kent-based Argonauts team which reached this year’s Wheelchair Challenge Cup final.

Part of the reason she has been able to transition so well comes from the crossover of skills learnt in both basketball and ice hockey, the latter of which she has big ambitions for.

“That’s incredibly physical and getting a female programme is fairly new,” Levy, who is still combining her basketball and ice hockey ambitions with her ones in rugby league, said. “So, we’re hoping to get that into the Winter Paralympics in the future.

“It’s great to be able to represent my country in so many sports and with that comes being able to promote the lesser-known sports like para ice hockey to encourage more females to get involved.

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I did find it quite simple to kind of slot into, but obviously it becomes more challenging at this level so I’m really up for that challenge.

Freya Levy

“Also, we play with two sticks, so it helps with hand-eye coordination, and being ambidextrous and being able to compete equally with my right hand and my left hand.”

Levy is one of four Argonauts players to be called up for the matches against France, joined in the England squad by clubmates Joe Coyd, Fred Nye and Lewis King,

National team head coach Tom Coyd praised the club for the rugby league education she has been given and is impressed with how quickly she has progressed – and not just because she correctly refers to the indoor playing area used by league’s wheelchair variant as a pitch rather than a court.

“The first thing to say about Freya is she’s clearly multi-talented and that’s meant that she’s picked up wheelchair rugby league incredibly quickly,” Coyd said.

England head coach Tom Coyd has been impressed with what Freya Levy has brought to the squad

England head coach Tom Coyd has been impressed with what Freya Levy has brought to the squad

“Her chair skills are fantastic – like some of the best in the squad. It’s just been a case of giving her time to understand the game.

“I think her first session was in October, and then up to then all of her wheelchair rugby league education has been through playing for the Argonauts. She’s picked it up as soon as she joined the squad, really.”

Along with pursuing her own sporting ambitions, Levy works in conjunction with the foundation set up by iconic Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson to open up opportunities for everyone in her area to have access to sport.

Given wheelchair rugby league is contested by mixed-sex teams and has disabled and able-bodied players competing on a level playing-field, she could hardly think of a better sport to be involved in from that point of view.

“Not only is it able and non-able players being able to compete but also male and female, so it’s incredible to be a part of that,” Levy said.

“I grew up with two brothers, so I’m used to playing with the lads and I’m really, really excited.”

Squads for this week’s matches

England: Joe Coyd, Lewis King, Fred Nye, Freya Levy (all Argonauts), James Simpson, Nathan Collins, Tom Halliwell (c) (all Leeds Rhinos), Seb Bechara (Catalans Dragons), Adam Rigby, Declan Roberts, Martin Norris (all Wigan Warriors), Rob Hawkins, Nathan Mulhall (both Halifax).

France: Florian Guttardoro, Guillaume Mautz, Yann Verdi (all Avignon), Adrien Zittel (Arbent), Jérémy Bourson, Gulles Clausells (c), Nicolas Clausells, Arno Vargas (all Catalans Dragons), Max Cabanne, Thomas Duhalde, Julien Penella (all Euskadi), Lionel Alazard, Dany Denuwelaere (both Montuaban).



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