Irish Wheelchair Rugby Star Garrett Culliton Q&A

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Name: Garrett Culliton
Age: 44
Club: Laois Lions Wheelchair Rugby Club

Q: How do you stay fit and healthy?
By training a lot! I play wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball and do some free weights sessions at home as opposed to going to the gym. Generally 4 sessions a week of wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball. I enjoy both the rugby and the basketball but the rugby probably suits me better. You have to have 4 limbs impaired, which I have, to play the rugby any this gives me a better chance to compete effectively against the opposition. However, I do also enjoy the tactics of wheelchair basketball even if I have to play against people who have more function than I.

Q: Who is the best player you have ever played with or against?
Against is Ryadh Sallem from France, and with is Thomas Moylan. Ryadh has a lot of function and is very fast. He reads the game very well. He played basketball for France before taking up rugby. Thomas Moylan is only 16. He is new to the game and also has great speed. He is as fast as we have had in Ireland. He’s obviously still learning the game. When he arrived on the scene he was the kind of player you take a look at and know we are definitely on to something great here!

Q: How do you prepare for a big game?
I’m not one for crazy long warm ups! I’m more of a short warmer upper, maybe 20 mins or half an hour and then get into the game. I don’t really bother with the headphones thingy either. The less thinking about things – just get straight into it.

Q: What is your greatest rugby achievement?
Playing in 4 out of 5 European championships. We are aiming to push on from that but the Euros has been our peak so far.

Q: What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
I’m a bit of a mad sports head – I will go and watch sports events like able bodied basketball locally and I follow Leinster and Irish rugby a lot too. I enjoy the cinema too when I get a chance.

Q) What about technology in the game?
Video analysis is becoming a big part of our sport. We analyse other teams and their players so for example someone might be predominantly right handed or throw a ball a certain way. We are gaining knowledge about opposition players, their strengths and weaknesses and general opposition team’s tactics.

How can people get involved?
We have a website where we can be contacted. We train at the Irish Wheelchair Association headquarters, so people can ring there to find out when it’s on. We do some demos around the country as well so people should watch out for them.

What’s your favourite car?
Volkswagen Touran. I have had a few of them and they have served me well.

What would be a good outcome for the team at your next game?
A win would be nice but a good team performance is more what we want. We are playing Italy in Rome on the morning of the Ireland v Italy 6 Nations game. This is our first link with the 6 Nations competition as such so it would be great if something more regular could be arranged with all the countries that have a link with this tournament. The 6 Nations is such a high profile Tournament, it would help to raise the awareness and profile of Wheelchair Rugby in these countries.

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