By Michael Pavitt

The inaugural BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge will take place in October ©BTGreat Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) have announced the schedule of the inaugural BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, due to take place from October 12 to 16 at the Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. 

London 2012 Paralympic gold medallists Australia will be among the teams returning to the British capital with Canada and the United States, who took silver and bronze respectively, also taking part in the eight-team tournament.

The nations have been split into two groups with Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the US drawn in Group A, whilst Australia will meet the hosts Great Britain in Group B, which is completed by France and Japan.

Teams will battle for group supremacy over the first three days of the tournament before the play off phase commencing on October 15 with the medals awarded on October 16.

"Our aim is to provide the Great Britain team with an opportunity to play the best in the world a year out from Rio as well as provide a world class event for the public and many Rugby World Cup visitors to England," said David Pond, chief executive of GBWR.

"Alongside the event we will be teaming up with London partners to host a community festival on Sunday 11 October which we hope will attract anyone interested in having fun in a chair."

The announcement of the tournament schedule follows the news that GBWR had agreed a three year partnership with BT, who were the official communications service partner for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, and have since extended their support for the British Paralympic team until Rio 2016.

The new partnership saw BT become the title sponsor of the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, with the tournament set to run alongside the Rugby World Cup which is taking place in England from September 18 to October 31.

"Disability sport doesn't just inspire us all to be the best we can be, it's also about world class athletes and competition at the highest level," said Suzi Williams, BT Group Marketing and Brand Director.

"That's why I couldn't be more delighted with our new partnership with GBWR.

"We're looking forward to working with GBWR, creating more possibilities than ever before for people to engage with, be inspired by, and have go at the sport."

BT were also supporters of the inaugural Invictus Games, which took place at the Copper Box Arena in September 2014 and saw Great Britain secure gold in the wheelchair rugby tournament.

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