Dis­abled bowls game gets a boost as de­vel­op­ment scheme launched

Central Leader - - SPORT - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Boc­cia beginners can be­come world-class com­peti­tors within six months thanks to a new skills pro­gramme de­vel­oped by Boc­cia New Zealand.

The game is sim­i­lar to lawn bowls or pe­tanque and in­volves seated ath­letes with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties throw­ing, kick­ing or us­ing a ramp to pro­pel six leather balls as close as pos­si­ble to a jack.

Clubs in cen­tral Auck­land in­clude the One­hunga Boc­cia Club and IRIS Boc­cia in Fowlds Park.

The free FUN­da­men­tal skills pro­gramme is de­signed for any­one with a phys­i­cal disability and is be­ing in­tro­duced na­tion­wide.

Boc­cia New Zealand di­rec­tor Luke Mor­riss has been work­ing on the pro­gramme for the past six months. It con­tains a three-level check­list that par­tic­i­pants can work through at their own pace to gain bronze, sil­ver and gold awards.

‘‘Boc­cia is a Par­a­lympic sport that tests each com­peti­tor’s de­gree of mus­cle con­trol and ac­cu­racy and can be played al­most any­where,’’ he says.

The pro­gramme pro­vides a clear path­way to achieve­ment for play­ers, Mr Mor­riss says.

By com­plet­ing the awards pro­gramme, par­tic­i­pants can gain the skills nec­es­sary to com­pete in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions within six months.

The game can be en­joyed by any­one, he says.

‘‘It has grown to be more than just a pas­time. Whether people are play­ing for fun or at a com­pet­i­tive level, Boc­cia pro­vides a much needed sport­ing and so­cial path­way for the dis­abled. We are ex­cited about this pro­gramme as it pro­vides a struc­tured path­way from grass­roots through to high per­for­mance.’’

Photo: SARAH COD­DING­TON

Step­ping up: A new boc­cia pro­gramme is pro­vid­ing path­ways for ath­letes from be­gin­ner level to high per­for­mance.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click lat­est edi­tion to see a video about boc­cia

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