Wheelchair Dance Sport: From Dance Beginner to Champion – Live Strictly Come Dancing

“Wheelchair dancing creates opportunities that you would never normally have”

Three years ago, Goz Ugochukwu tried her hand at wheelchair dancing as part of a year-long series of physical challenges with her co-worker Ross. She’s had quite a trip since …

Watch the last movie I made for To be inspired, I remembered that I really wasn’t looking forward to the dance challenge.

It reminded me of the really bad dance lessons I had in school and how embarrassing they were.

But I was impressed with the coaches and the routine they had for us. I thought there was no way to do this dance, in the time we had.

As I trained, I learned more and more of the routine. I started having fun and was really surprised how quickly I learned what to do and caught the dance bug.

So I persuaded Lloyd – a work friend – to join me for some free lessons that had been offered to me. I thought it would be interesting and a little different.

I didn’t really take the lessons seriously – it was just a little fun. And I found it difficult – incorporating turns and spins and pushes in the wheelchair to the beat of the music.

The fact that the coaches are welcoming and that the other dancers are pleasant to be around made me want to go back.

One pair offered

The coaches must have seen something in us because within six months of starting classes they entered us for the UK Nationals.

I asked him because I knew he was a super fan of Come dance strictly and he used to compete as a disco dancer. I thought he would make a great partner.

As partners we are very different and I think a lot of people don’t see how it works between us.

Of the two of us, Lloyd is the most emotionally expressive on and off the floor. He will be the one who shouts victory or defeat.

I’m the quietly competitive one who keeps it together.

International scene

For the past three years, Lloyd and I have competed in national and international competitions.

This year will be our busiest year so far as we have entered four competitions.

Whatever happens there, this will be our last year as beginners as we move on to amateurs. It means learning more ballroom and Latin dances – eight in all.

I would love to represent my country at the Paralympic Games. But if that doesn’t happen, I would love to be good enough to go to the World Championships.


Goz and Lloyd competing in the Netherlands

Parana dance is an amazing sport and when you see top athletes competing it blows your mind.

I can’t believe I was even skeptical about the sport at first.

I dance every week with Strictly Wheelsexternal link in Manchester. It’s a small club but we are growing.

Through dancing I learned:

  • what it takes to compete
  • have confidence in my abilities
  • don’t take me too seriously
  • you can have fun in the most unusual places.

It would be great if more people played sports because it is a great way to keep the body and mind active.

There are clubs across the country – if you go to Para Danse Sport websiteexternal link they can point you in the right direction.

Congratulations to Goz and Lloyd after winning a silver medal for their combi, a bronze medal for their freestyle and Goz won gold in the women’s singles category at the Para Dance Sport UK National Championships in Harrow.

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