Female Athletes Steal the Show

  • rharcu01
  • August 17, 2018
  • Sport

Maia Marshall-Amai from New Zealand, photograph by Serena Corporate Photography courtesy of DSA.

By Rebecca Harcus

The 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships wrapped up on Sunday with a shocking final which saw favourites, the Australian Steelers, lose 62-61 to Japan.

The six action packed days of competition showcased the talent of the best players in the world including some incredible female athletes.

Wheelchair Rugby is a mixed sport where both males and females compete together on the court.

This year exactly half the teams contained a female athlete. These six athletes were;

Ciara Stauton from Ireland
Izabela Sopalska-Rybak from Poland
Kae Kurahashi from Japan
Maia Marshall-Amai from New Zealand
Paola Martinez from Colombia
Sofie Skoubo from Denmark

These athletes held their own throughout the tournament with impressive skill, resilience and contributions to their own team’s goal scoring.


Athlete Team Number of goals
Highest overall goal scorer Izabela Sopalska-Rybak Poland 23
Highest number of goals scored in one match Maia Marshall-Amai New Zealand 6


Like all the athletes in this competition each of these women have their own story as to how the come to play the sport.

Colombia’s Paola Martinez found the sport nearly four years ago, after she was in a motorcycle accident that led to her becoming a wheelchair user.

She used Wheelchair Rugby as a way to regain her independence and to start enjoying her own life again.

She spoke about how important this experience was for not only her but the entire Colombian team as it was their first international competition.

“All that we do, we are thinking of our families, we work hard for all the people that support the team and we thank them so much.”

These athletes will now turn their attention to qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, with Kae Kurahashi, from team Japan, hoping to continue their winning streak in front of a home crowd.