By Gary Anderson

The 2015 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge will take place at the Copper Box Arena in London ©IWRFThe Copper Box Arena at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been announced as the host venue for next year's inaugural World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge.

The new competition is part of a drive to secure a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games and it is hoped the fully-sanctioned International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) event will become one of the most high profile competitions on the sport's international calendar.

The event has been organised to coincide with the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and will take place from October 11 to 16, in a move aimed at maximising interest and exposure.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced the launch of the new tournament today at City Hall in London and was joined by Great Britain players Kylie Grimes, Mike Kerr, Chris Ryan and Bulbul Hussein as well as England and Harlequins player Mike Brown, who was voted Player of the Tournament at this year's RBS Six Nations.

"I am delighted that the Copper Box will be hosting the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, which is surely one of the most terrifying and exhilarating sports on the planet," said Johnson, who took part in a demonstration game at the launch.

"We have worked hard to ensure that all of our stunning 2012 venues have a long-term sporting future and this event will ensure that thousands of people can relive the golden memories of 2012 while enjoying another top-class sporting event.

"This event will also build on the work that we are doing with partners to encourage participation in sport, inspire change and improve lives."

London Mayor Boris Johnson takes part in a game of wheelchair rugby at the launch of the 2015 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge ©Leo Wilkinson/GBWRLondon Mayor Boris Johnson takes part in a game of wheelchair rugby at the launch of the 2015 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge ©Leo Wilkinson/GBWR

As well as Great Britain, current Paralympic champions Australia and reigning world champions the United States will take part in the competition, along with Canada, South Africa, Japan, France, and New Zealand.

"We will be bringing together the top wheelchair rugby teams in the world for this exciting world challenge event, which will run aside the International Rugby Board Rugby World Cup," said chief executive of Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, David Pond.

"Wheelchair rugby caught the public's imagination in London 2012, and this tournament will give them another chance to experience the excitement of the game with its speed, skill and big hits."

Later this year wheelchair rugby is one of a number of sports that will be on the programme for the first ever Invictus Games taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The Games, launched by Prince Harry, will see wounded and sick armed forces personnel from 14 nations competing in nine adaptive sports - archery, athletics, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, indoor rowing and powerlifting - at a number of venues across the Park, including the Copper Box Arena from September 10 to 14.

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