A Dodgeball enthusiast is on a mission to get more people into the sport after triumphing at the World Championships.
Ross McGuigan, who is Active Communities Manager at Life Leisure in Stockport, was an integral part of Team GB which beat off stiff competition from the USA, Austria and Australia to win the Dodgeball World Championships in Canada earlier this month (September 4th).
Now he has been buoyed to encourage more people to play the game and ensure the Brits continue to win the title for years to come.
Ross, 36, who is originally from Gatley and now lives in Fallowfield, said: “It’s a fantastic, dynamic sport. There is a lot of athleticism involved. You have to be quick and agile, but there’s also a big tactical side to it too, so it’s much more inclusive than a lot of other sports.
“When I’ve taught it in schools everyone has always got really involved. You often find the people who are a bit shyer to begin with are the ones who end up as the last ones in, because they stay at the back out of the way – which is the aim of the game! Before you know it, you have a whole class of kids cheering on the ones who you might consider less active. It’s fantastic.”
Dodgeball is played by two teams of players who must dodge or catch balls thrown by the opposition while attempting to strike their opponents in the same way.
Ross, who has played with the Manchester Bees for the past eight years, hopes his win will encourage more youngsters to take up the sport, with sessions for children aged between five and 12 taking place each week at Brinnington Park, Stockport Sports Village and Houldsworth Village.
Ross has been a champion of Dodgeball since he was a student at the University of Salford when he studied sports science and first recognised the huge benefits it has as an inclusive sport.
He said: “There are synergies between my role at Life Leisure as Active Communities Manager and Dodgeball. It’s about encouraging everyone to take part in sport and physical activity no matter what your size and ability – it really is a sport for all.”
He added: “At competition level it is very competitive and very athletic, but it’s also unique in the way that you have a mixed gender divisions at a high level.
“There’s also a fantastic level of sportsmanship because you have to be honest – a hit counts if it just grazes your shoulder and sometimes only you can know if it did or not – it takes integrity and good sportsmanship to hold your hand up and admit you’re out.”
He added: “It’s such a good sport for kids and adults – I’d love more people to get involved. We’ve got fantastic clubs in Manchester and Stockport - it would be great to inspire future GB players to take part in the North West and further. We will be working hard to retain our title but also make it a sport that GB can really get behind.”
Dodgeball sessions take place at Brinnington Park on Mondays at 5pm, Stockport Sports Village on Fridays at 4.45pm, with Disco Dodgeball held at Houldsworth Village on Fridays at 5.45pm.
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