By Liam Morgan

The IWRF have officially released their strategic four-year plan ©IWRFThe International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) have released their new strategic four-year plan aimed at directing the future growth of the sport, includes possible expansion into other disciplines.

A high emphasis has been put on developing variants of wheelchair rugby, such as versions of seven-a-side rugby union for athletes in wheelchairs, and open class wheelchair rugby, which includes athletes with paraplegia and lower limb disabilities, seen at the 2014 Invictus Games in London.

The plan was drafted at the IWRF Educational and Planning meetings in London last month, where they began to put their strategy until 2018 in motion with the support of World Rugby and Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, and it has now been approved by the IWRF board.

It focuses on a continued commitment to ensure the organisation is well led with effective governance, as well as providing high-quality services and to keep a world-class competition structure in place, it is claimed. 

The new strategic plan also looks at supporting the IWRF's mission of "growing and supporting the wheelchair rugby family", while promoting the sport as a vehicle for providing inspiring role models and changing lives.

The International Wheelchair Rugby Federation are looking into potentially expanding their amount of events in the coming years in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty ImagesThe International Wheelchair Rugby Federation are looking into potentially expanding their amount of events in the coming years in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

"We are very pleased with the direction that the new strategic plan will lead us, and are energised by the detailed thought and input that our Board and Committee chairs have contributed in creating this document," IWRF President John Bishop said.

"I am confident that the needs of our membership and sport have been addressed, and we are looking forward to upholding our core values and working together to achieve the goals stated within the plan."

Wheelchair rugby, a mixed sex sport, has been confirmed as one of the 22 Paralympic sports to feature at Tokyo 2020.

It was a demonstration sport at Atlanta 1996 before it was officially added to the Paralympic programme for Sydney 2000, where the first gold medallists were the United States.

New Zealand were the winners at Athens 2004, the US at Beijing 2008 and Australia at London 2012. 

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 International Wheelchair Rugby Federation develops four-year strategic plan
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