ACHILL'S James O’Malley will lead the LMAX Everest Rugby Challenge next month in an attempt to break two world records while raising money for Wooden Spoon, Children’s Charity of Rugby.
James is the only Irish person taking part in the challenge, together with a team of 30 challengers – (made up of ex-professional rugby players, businesspeople and charity workers).
The team will be tested to the max, not just to trek across treacherous terrain in the toughest conditions, but to attempt two Guinness world record-breaking feats of playing a full contact rugby match, and tag rugby match, at the highest altitude – just above Advance Base Camp on Everest. The matches will aim to break the record set by the Steve Prescott Foundation at 5,752 metres up Kilimanjaro in 2015.
Speaking about the upcoming challenge James said, "I am delighted to be flying the flag for Ireland in this immense challenge. There’s already some great camaraderie in the group, helped by coming together for group training sessions – and we’re going to need it. It's going to be an amazing experience but it's also going to be really tough. We're going to need to dig deep and know we've got a strong team around us."
Teams will be captained by a clutch of rugby stars including Ollie Phillips, former IRB Sevens World Player of the Year, Shane Williams, Wales' leading try-scorer, England Women legend Tamara Taylor and 60-cap Test hooker Lee Mears.
Each of the 30 challengers has been set a funding target of €12,000, to be used by Wooden Spoon to help young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage in Ireland and the UK.
James is particularly driven to help the charity as his company Fusion Community Initiatives delivers team-building projects with social impact globally,– partnering companies with local communities to create accessible recreation areas, sensory gardens, outside classrooms… all for schools and children’s hospices in need.
James’s own young nephew Harvey suffers with cerebral palsy and so making a difference to children like Harvey, is very close to his heart.
So when he climbs to 6,500m to play the highest-ever game of rugby above Advanced Base Camp just below the North Ridge in just over two months, this will be the motivation he will undoubtedly need.
Fusion Community Initiatives has an office in Castlebar and is an award-winning CSR company specializing in high-performance team building through ethical Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The company comprises a strong team of ex-military personnel, all of whom use real-time operational leadership skills to create highly effective programmes.
You can support James at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-omalley-everest