Ryan Cockbill is a British Paralympic shooter who has competed in two Paralympics and is right now on his way to Tokyo to compete at his third in the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Ryan is also the proud owner of the ableSling – a sit-in transfer sling for hoisting and manual transferring – that allows him to transfer on and off aircrafts and travel with ease to international competitions as a disabled athlete.
The ableSling, along with the other range of lifestyle ableMove products available, was initially designed to support wheelchair users when flying on an aircraft, but have been adapted to now suit wheelchair users in a whole range of day to day activities and to support more independent living.
In the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which start on 24th August 2021, we spent some time getting to know Ryan, his background, his career in Para-shooting and the benefits of using the ableSling as a disabled athlete.
Q – Tell us about yourself?
A – My name is Ryan Cockbill, I’m 31-years-old and from Walsall, England. I became a wheelchair user following a spinal cord injury. I started shooting in 2007 having taken part in the Stoke Mandeville Games earlier that year, where I tried a number of different sports, including wheelchair rugby. I was drawn to target shooting, which started as a hobby and quickly became a passion as I thrived off the buzz of competitions. Within three years, I was invited to join the GB shooting team; two years after that, I made my Paralympic debut at London 2012. I also took part in the Olympic torch relay in Birmingham.
Q – For those of us who have never come across Para Riffle Shooting before, can you tell us a bit more about it?
A – Paralympic shooting, also known as shooting Para sport, is an adaptation of shooting sports for competitors with disabilities. Shooting is a test of accuracy and control, in which competitors use pistols or rifles to fire a series of shots at a stationary target. Each shot is worth a maximum score of 10 or a decimal value of 10.9 points. Athletes use .22 caliber rifles, pistols and .177 caliber air guns (compressed air or pneumatic). My Classification is SH2, competing in the R4, R5 (10 metres .177Air Rifle) and R9 (50 meters .22 Rifle) events.
Q – What has been your highlight of your sporting career so far?
A – Representing ParalympicsGB in London, Rio and winning bronze at the 2019 World Cup in the UAE, securing a Tokyo 2020 quota place for ParalmypicsGB.
Q – How have you been preparing for Tokyo 2020 and what will be your ultimate goal at these Paralympic Games?
A – With the Covid restrictions affecting our competition schedule, I’ve been training at home over the last 18 months. My goals for Tokyo is winning gold medals!
Q – How do our range of ableMove products benefit you as a disabled athlete?
A – I have the ableMove ableSling for transfers on and off aircraft. Having the sling has made getting on the plane seat easier as the airline assistant is able to move me across using the sling rather than manually handled on to the seat.
Q – How can the ableMove products benefit more disabled athletes across a range of sports?
A – I think the ableMove products could benefit many more disabled athletes and disabled people across all sports and leisure activities. The products open up opportunities for safer air travel, which gives a lot more disabled people the opportunity to access the world of flying.