Boc­cia pair face fund­ing chal­lenge

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A pair of boc­cia play­ers is de­ter­mined to repli­cate the golden achieve­ment of the national team crowned world cham­pi­ons in 2006 but is des­per­ately short of funds to reach their goals.

One­hunga Boc­cia Club mem­bers Fleur Mann and Anthea Henry-Hurst are part of the eight-strong team se­lected for the national high per­for­mance squad.

Boc­cia is a Par­a­lympic sport which com­bines the deadly ac­cu­racy needed in petanque with the com­plex tac­tics used in tra­di­tional out­door and in­door bowls.

It is played for the most part by those with a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity.

Since its in­cep­tion at the 1984 Stoke Man­dev­ille and New York Par­a­lympic Games it is now played in more than 50 coun­tries world­wide.

To reach the 2016 Par­a­lympics in Rio de Janeiro – the same city that hosted New Zealand’s 2006 tri­umph – each ath­lete must con­trib­ute $1500 to­wards the cost of com­pet­ing so they can progress through re­gional pre­lim­i­nar­ies to make the cut.

The first hur­dle is the Asia and Ocea­nia Boc­cia Cham­pi­onships which gets un­der­way in Oc­to­ber in Syd­ney.

Boc­cia New Zealand di­rec­tor Luke Mor­riss says New Zealand is ranked along­side the best teams in the world.

‘‘We need the sup­port of New Zealan­ders to go for gold.

‘‘Our star play­ers are very skil- led and have a heart­en­ingly en­gag­ing story to tell about how the sport has ben­e­fited them, their pas­sion to­wards boc­cia is amaz­ing.’’

Boc­cia NZ has been of­fered tele­vi­sion cov­er­age and bill­board ad­ver­tise­ments to pub­li­cise the sport but sourc­ing equip­ment and peo­ple to pro­vide video and im­ages has been vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble, Mr Mor­riss says.

Boc­cia gives dis­abled ath­letes the op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue their dreams of com­pet­ing on the world stage.

Fleur Mann is a vet­eran on the national boc­cia scene.

The 21-year-old is one of the youngest in the New Zealand squad.

Anthea Henry-Hurst has 19 in­ter­na­tional caps to her name af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a quick rise to the top of the national rank­ings since pick­ing up the game.

Boc­cia NZ need to raise $50,000 to get the team through the pre­lim­i­nary ranks to the Par­a­lympics.

In­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion: One­hunga Boc­cia Club player Anthea Henry-Hurst has 19 in­ter­na­tional caps to her name.

Golden hopes:

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