Formed in 2018 as a legacy from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Wheelchair Racing section has developed and gone from strength to strength.  In its first 5 years of existence it has raised in excess of £30,000, thus enabling the purchase of equipment, several racing chairs and a clubhouse which acts as essential storage for the chairs and related equipment.

Much of the money has come from grants from a range of different organisations and support from local Rotary Clubs who organised several ‘Wheelchair Relay’ annual events where able bodied members and friends participated in sponsored relay races.

It started out with one member and this has grown over the five years to eight permanent participants  with several other physically disabled people participating in several sessions to see whether the sport was for them or not.

It is a very expensive sport with new chairs costing upwards of £6000 and a pair of gloves £200.  For that reason it was decided that the parent club, Bedford and County AC, would not support financially the wheelchair racing section, and so it has to exist by way of its own fundraising efforts.

We also needed qualified coaches and were very fortunate to have Zoe Luscombe and Michael Blunt join us.  Subsequently a third coach, Sharmila Harman, qualified and joined the coaching team.  The section is managed by Howard Darbon


Half of the current membership have achieved national rankings for their age groups and classification.  Varun Bandi, the founder member, is ranked number one in 100m, 200, 400m and 800m in the Under 20 age group.  Sean Chigumba is also ranked number one in the Under 17s for the 100m, 200m and 400m.  Each of these has also been selected for the England Athletics Talent Development programme for possible future Paralympians, which necessitates attending four sessions a year at Loughborough with their coach.

Katie Connolly, 2nd in 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m, and Hugo Cracknell,3rd in 200m, and who is currently at Cardiff University, are also in the top three for their age and classification.

Varun  also won the Junior Disability Award for three years in succession at the annual Bedford Sports Awards, 2020, 2021 and 2022, and Sean won the same category in 2023.

Howard Darbon won the England Athletics Eastern Region 2023 award for his contribution to Wheelchair Racing.

Other regular members of the section also perform well when racing – Josh Prickett has competed well in his races winning many, but is not yet classified.  He will, however, be classified in time for the coming summer season.  Jade Olulode, currently at Oxford Brookes University, is awaiting her new purpose built chair and will be commencing racing shortly, whilst Rebecca Dean has participated in several races over the past few seasons ,but, again, has not been classified.

New Members

The section is always very happy to engage with any physically disabled person.  Details are on the above poster.  We can guarantee a warm welcome, expert advice and coaching and a very sociable group of fellow wheelchair users.

All equipment is provided and you will be advised and coached by the club coaches.

Supporters Club

A Supporters Club has been formed recently with the intention of assisting with our fund raising efforts and recruitment programme, as well as advising on other aspects of the section.  The Club comprises representatives of local Rotary Clubs, coaches, parents and Wheelpower, the national charity which seeks to promote and support wheelchair racing and other sports.  It is hoped that the Supporters Club will provide guidance and support for  the efforts of the section’s manager and coaches in their efforts to make Bedford Wheelchair Racing one of the most successful clubs in the region, if not the country.

Competitions 2024


Sunday 6 April  Sandy -  Bedfordshire AAA Open meeting
Monday 6 May     Stevenage - Bedfordshire 1500m wheelchair races
Saturday/Sunday 11/12 May Watford  - Bedfordshire Championships
Varun Bandi
Varun Bandi
Rebecca Dean with coach Zoe Luscombe
Rebecca Dean with coach Zoe Luscombe




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