Year 9 student, Rio Woolf, was selected by the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) for the European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF) Junior Camp in Tbilisi, Georgia last week along with 11 other EAFA Juniors joining fellow amputee footballers aged 5-16. Participants hailed from Belgium, Costa Rica, Georgia, Germany, Poland and Turkey, all communicating through the international language of amputee football!
The four-day event comprised of the Opening Ceremony, five training sessions (in 37c!), and a tour of the FC Dinamo Tbilisi and Georgia national team’s 54,000-seater stadium, before ending with the Closing Ceremony.
Rio has been representing his country since the age of seven when he was selected for the EAFA Junior Squad for the inaugural Dublin 2016 EAFF Junior Camp, followed by the Warsaw 2017 and Rome 2018 camps. He attends the EAFA Junior Camps in Cheshire three times a year (funded by BBC Children in Need) and is looking forward to the next camp in September.
Rio’s ambition is to play for the Arsenal Amputees in the EAFA Premier League and to play for England at International tournaments including the Amputee Football World Cup which takes place in Istanbul in September this year. Rio is also hoping that Amputee Football will be classified as a Paralympic sport so that he can compete for Great Britain at LA2028!
You can follow Rio via Instagram: @bladeboyrio; twitter: @BladeBoyRio; Facebook: @Rio Woolf
Photo credit: Paula Duda