(Odense, Denmark) – Despite being only 19 years old and having played wheelchair rugby for less than three years, Zak Madell (of Okotoks, AB) was named MVP at the 2013 Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge on Sunday night. Not only did Madell beat out superstars like Australia’s Ryley Batt to win the coveted title, but he was also named to the All Star team.
“This is an amazing honour,” said Madell. “I’m still new to the sport and I look up to all of these players, so winning MVP is a big deal for me.”
The 2013 Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, which took place this weekend, featured the top eight teams in the world and was the first major tournament since the London 2012 Paralympics. Canada won the bronze medal after losing to number-one-ranked Australia in the semi-finals.
According to Head Coach Kevin Orr, Madell is a key piece of Team Canada’s campaign to win gold at the 2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships, which will take place in Odense, Denmark next August.
“It’s been such a pleasure to watch Zak evolve from a 16-year-old high school kid who was hesitant to hit someone into a strong, aggressive wheelchair rugby player who can go head-to-head with the best in the world,” said Orr. “He’s definitely proven at this tournament that he’ll be a major player on the world stage for a long time to come.”
Team Canada’s next big challenge will come in October at the 2013 IWRF Americas Zone Qualification tournament in Birmingham, Alabama.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Wheelchair Rugby Canada
Please note: Zak will be traveling through Europe until July 1st and will only be available for email or Skype interviews. Head Coach Kevin Orr would be happy to grant interviews on his behalf.