Dan’s the man for Rio rugby gold

Team GB's Dan Bibby is from Aspull

Team GB's Dan Bibby is from Aspull

The Rio Olympics is underway meaning many a sports-nut across the borough will be excited to see Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah grace our TV screens.

But for one household in Aspull, the rugby sevens competition is the one to watch.

As when Team GB takes the field at the Estadio de Deodoro this week, the family home of Dan Bibby will be full of family members cheering him on from afar.

The 25-year-old former Standish High School student has been a professional sevens player for several years representing England, making the grade for the Olympic squad along with players from the other home nations.

Dad Andy told Wigan Today: “When he found out he had made the squad it was just absolutely brilliant.

“He had a shoulder injury in January and wasn’t sure if he would be picked in the squad as it took him a bit of time to come back from that.

“But he’s trained really hard and he deserves it.”

Dan played for Aspull RUFC since he was five and his rugby progressed after leaving high school when he attended the prestigious Kirkham Grammar School near Blackpool on a sports scholarship.

His life as an international sevens player has taken him all over the world, including representing England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. And the sport’s busy schedule contributing to a marked rise in popularity in recent years, culminating with its debut at the Games in 2016.

Andy, along with wife Sue, said they would be bursting with pride when their son takes the field for Great Britain.

“It’s a real one-off, isn’t it? As an athlete, the Olympics is something else so we’re very proud of him,” Andy explained.

“Joining together as Team GB has meant the squad hasn’t had as long together as the other nations but Dan told me they have some really top players and they’re really strong.

“The house will be packed with our family; aunties, uncles, cousins, it should be really great.”

The Olympics will cap a busy year for Dan, who plays in the backline, as he is expecting a baby and recently got engaged.

Team GB has been drawn alongside New Zealand, Japan and Kenya in the group stages as the world’s top 12 sides battle it out for the sport’s first ever gold medal.

Andy, who used to coach at Aspull and works in demolition, said his son does have aspirations to switch the full 15-man code one day but thoroughly enjoys his current career on the sevens circuit.

He said: “Eventually, perhaps, (he might look to switch) but he likes doing what he’s doing at the moment and travelling the world. It’s a very quick, fast-paced game and it suits him. He’s loving it.”