Four local disability athletes have been called up to the nine-strong Scotland squad which will take part in the nation’s first-ever powerchair football tournament.
Tayside Dynamos quartet Eythan Galloway, Logan Mitchelson, Kein Speed and Nicky Duncan will turn out for the Scots in the Duncan Scales Memorial Cup this weekend.
Taking place at the University of Leeds, Galloway (13), Mitchelson (14), Speed (19) and Duncan (20) will line-up for Scotland as their two teams go up against Leeds Chariots, Electric Eels and Leeds Dynamos this Sunday.
It is a historic occasion for the sport in Scotland, which allows those who need to use a powerchair to get around to take part in organised football, and the team have been preparing accordingly.
They recently faced a tough test against Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club, the nation’s maiden game, with Galloway the scorer of Scotland’s only goal in a 7-1 defeat.
Despite the loss, it was a great moment for all concerned and Angus native Galloway was delighted to be involved, let alone score.
“It’s was a huge honour to be picked to play for my country,” he said.
“Being the youngest player in the squad, I didn’t expect to be picked to play in the actual game.
“So to score the first-ever goal for Scotland was like a dream come true.”
Powerchair football is the fastest-growing disability sport in the UK with 60 players registered to play with the Scottish Powerchair Football Assocation (SPFA).
Tayside Dynamos take part in the Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) Scottish Premiership with the likes of Galloway starring.
The sport is fast-paced and dynamic and allows all ages, disabilities and genders to compete alongside together.
It is a four-a-side game played on a basketball-sized court with most players having conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida
SPFA chairperson Willie Pettigrew is delighted to see the level of inclusion and sporting progress being made as Scotland prepares to host its first, as yet unnamed, international tournament in Largs next year.
He said: “This is another exciting step for powerchair football in Scotland.
“Travelling down to Leeds will give us an opportunity to show what we’ve learned from playing Middlesbrough as we build towards hosting an international tournament in 2020.
“There’s a range of involvement with players as young as 11 and 12-years-old right up 50 and 60-year-olds. There are two leagues in Scotland – the Premiership and the Championship – with opportunities for people to play at any level they can.
“This includes right up to the Scotland team – Tayside Dynamos and their rivals in the Premiership Clyde Alba are a huge part of the national team set-up.
“They are the main clubs and provide a lot of the players.
“The support from our partners at the SFA Para Football Association, Mobility Central Sport and Muscular Dystrophy UK has been invaluable.”