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Strictly Wheels represent GB in Germany

Gary Lyness and Paula Moulton, otherwise known as award winning wheelchair dance sport duo Strictly Wheels have just returned from competing at the highest level at the IPC Rheinsberg competition in Germany. We caught up with Paula to find out how the competition went, and why travel insurance is so important when travelling abroad.


Joining some of the world’s top ranked couples at the IPC Rheinsberg competition, Strictly Wheels’ Paula and Gary were thrilled to be competing alongside the best of the best. The duo have only recently reached the top flight of IPC classes and represented Great Britain in the Latin Combi category, competing against former world champions. The event was held at the HausRheinsberg Hotel, a fully accessible hotel designed specifically for disabled travellers, and was Strictly Wheels’ first competition of the year for World and European rankings.

“We were knocked out in the second round, but if we hadn’t we would have thought something was wrong!” Paula says. “The standard was so high but it was a real achievement to compete at that level because we were dancing against very best in the sport. It’s exciting too, and makes for a good competition, we don’t want to be competing against people we’re better than all the time and we like a challenge. We know we have a bit of a journey now but we’re making good progress.”

They are, and training is intense. “We learn our routines well in advance so we’ve had them in place for a while,” Paula explains. “In the weeks running up to the competition we mainly do stamina prep, which is basically doing five dances in front of a camera, then stopping to review the footage, then repeating. You need to build it up and build it up so you can keep going. If you can do five dances in a row in rehearsals you know you won’t struggle on the day.”

Then there’s all the other preparation Paula needs to do for competitions. “There’s hair appointments, getting my nails done, and fake tanning to think about and that includes Gary!” she says. “I also always make sure I’ve got the correct assistance sorted on the plane and at the airport and I make sure I have my travel insurance in place. Our equipment is also covered by Fish and we know we can rely on them. Insurance is really important because without it, once you’re out of the country you’re on your own.”

“In Germany, we ended up missing our flight home due to being caught in traffic on the way to the airport and were stranded in Berlin for over 24 hours. When you’re stuck in a foreign country, you need to know where has wheelchair access, so that’s something I always look at before I go abroad. My advice is to go for a higher grade hotel, they usually have larger rooms for wheelchair users, whereas lots of standard hotels don’t. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in Berlin, which was fantastic.”

For more details about the disabled travel insurance from Fish which protects Strictly Wheels, click here.

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