The MidKent College students both play for Invicta PFC – based at Medway Park in Gillingham – and are confident they could one day represent Team GB on the world’s biggest stage.
However, the teenage competitors admit such ambitions are unlikely to be achieved while there are only a handful of powerchair teams in the South East.
James, 19, from Rochester, said: “We’d have national team scouts attend our games if there was a southern league, and there are a few of us at Invicta who believe we’d stand a chance of being called up.
“From there anything would be possible, but we need our own competition first. A national league does already exist but it’s based in Nottingham and a lot of people can’t afford to drive up there every weekend.”
Powerchair football is a four-a-side competition for disabled people, utilising wheelchairs equipped with bumpers to attack, defend and spin-kick a football into a goal.
The sport was one of several considered by the International Paralympic Committee for the 2016 games, but was overlooked in favour of canoeing and the triathlon.
Nicole, 17, from Faversham, was born with cerebral palsy but refuses to let the condition stop her doing the things she enjoys.
“I love the adrenaline I get from playing powerchair football,” she said. “It’s so much better to play sport than watch it, and I would have a big hole in my life if I had to stop because I like to be active.
“It’s loads of fun and you get to meet lots of new people.”
Both teammates are students at MidKent College’s Medway Campus, where James studies A-levels and Nicole is on a Diploma course in Animal Management.
Their Invicta PFC team held a Powerchair Football Festival at Medway Park last Saturday (16 June) to help promote the sport and appeal for more players, volunteers and coaches.
It was organised in partnership with Sevenoaks Vikings – the only other club in Kent.
James said: “I hope the festival encouraged more people to get involved because it’s a brilliant disability sport.
“I feel exhausted after a training session. I may not be moving but it’s such a mentally tiring game and you really get into it once you start playing.”
For more information on disability football in Kent call Stephanie Gadd on 01622 792140 or email email@example.com
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