A BOLTON wheelchair rugby player has been named as one of the world’s best at an international tournament.
Ayaz Bhuta was one of the stars of the International World Rugby Federational competition last week.
Great Britain equalled their best ranking by finishing fifth and , Bhuta was recognised for his efforts in a fans’ vote as the most important player.
The 25-year-old was delighted to pick up the title for the second time but admits he would have preferred team glory instead of personal success.
He said: “It was a nice honour to be recognised by people watching the tournament. I just wish that I could have been celebrating success with GB as well.”
Bhuta’s success was even more impressive considering he was celebrating Ramadan.
It meant his training schedule was catered for him.
Performance director Lorraine Brown said: “He is one of our crucial players, so we were willing to manage that in a positive way, providing a bespoke diet and training plan for him.
“In this way he got reduced stress from being able to commit to his religion and also from knowing that he would be in the best possible shape for the worlds.”
Bhuta added: “I’m just really grateful, we had a really busy schedule coming up to Ramadan and they gave me a lot of time off to be with my family and fast, and be part of the month. I’m just really grateful to them for letting me do that. I think other sports might have almost made you choose between one or the other, but this gave me the best of both worlds.”
Born with Roberts Syndrome, which limits the growth of limbs, Bhuta is 3ft 7in and weighs about 42 kilos, – around seven stone.
The chance to play a full-contact sport at an elite level was an opportunity too good to miss.
“I used to play wheelchair basketball before this, and I used to be quite violent and dirty in that, but it’s a non-contact sport,” he said.