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ISSUE #2 DEC 2012

Paralympic Boccia... Inspirational Stories... Nigel Murray Interview... And amples more inside...


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EDITOR’S THOUGHTS A huge welcome to the second issue of Boccia Inclusive: the only online publication dedicated to the unique sport. The incredible response I got from the first issue fully justified the time and effort of all involved to bring this publication to life. Since the last issue millions of people have played witness to, arguably, the greatest Paralympics of alltime. London 2012 has done its part to raise the profile of disability sports in the UK and the greater coverage of the Games reached more households than ever. Although Boccia was not the most highly anticipated sport, thousands of spectators have nevertheless been enthused by it. For one week only Boccia took over the South Arena 1 at the Excel, which was the platform for some aweinspiring displays of talent by the best athletes in the world. GB won two medals, David Smith’s Silver in the BC1 Mixed Individual event and BC1/2 Team Bronze, in which Nigel Murray captained GB for the last time at a Paralympics. Read Murray’s reactions to London 2012 and his Boccia story in an in depth interview within these very pages. This issue also includes an overview of the Paralympic Boccia.

“I have been playing Boccia for eight years, but 2012 has been my best so far. I have won the Czech Open for the second year running and DSE Open for third year running. I’ve grabbed silver in the Nationals and British Championships this year too.” David Hill

Along with the emphasis on the Paralympics, this second issue branches out where stories and articles are concerned. Features include: stories from the Games Makers who are also Boccia players, getting their unique perspective of this Summer’s action; an article giving insight into the England Talent Squad; players’ stories from across England and even as far as Australian; and the inspirational tale of DEMAND, a charity which supports itself by constructing and selling Boccia ramps. There you have it, a very packed issue in store. As always, a special mention must be made to everyone who contributed to the magazine – thank you. Also, congratulations to Jon and Sam Oldknow for providing the winning cover photo. Nothing left to say except, ENJOY!

Editor’s Thoughts


CONTENTS BOCCIA ON THE WORLD STAGE: A Paralympic Boccia Synopsis

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BOCCIA PLAYERS TO GAMES MAKERS: A September to Remember

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LEE MADDISON: My Games Maker Experience

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EMMA HARRIS: The Games and a Decade of Boccia

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INTERVIEW WITH... Nigel Murray: Boccia Superstar

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SAM OLDKNOW: Reaching New Boccia Heights

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DO IT YOURSELF: Tips on How to Raise Your Game

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BOCCIA ENGLAND TALENT SQUAD: Developing the Future of Boccia

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RED OR BLUE? Reasons We Pick One Over the Other

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DEMAND FOR BOCCIA RAMPS KEEPS GROWING

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DEAN NOTTLE AND FIONA LYONS: Words of Australian Paralympic Potentials

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BOCCIA ON THE WORLD STAGE: A Paralympic Boccia Synopsis After years of eager anticipation, the Paralympics finally took centre stage in London. It may not have got the coverage that it deserved, but London 2012 certainly made a greater effort to raise the profile of the Paralympic Games than any host before. Boccia, on the other hand, still remains over looked compared with the superstar events of Athletics, Swimming and Cycling; although a few thousand more people know what it is. The two Medals won by the GB Team will also help elevate Boccia more into the public domain. The thousands of people, open-minded enough to give Boccia a try, watched the sport and were treated to an awesome spectacle of world-class action. The seven-day sporting marvel showcased some of Boccia’s most exciting talents from across the globe. The atmosphere within the Excel’s South Arena 1 was electrifying, beyond anything any of the Boccia Athletes had experienced before. Even in Beijing nearly all of the two-and-a-half thousandspectators were rent-a-crowd, people actually made to watch Boccia. At London, it was completely different; every seat taken by someone who was excited and enthused to play witness to a Paralympic sporting event. The competition itself was out-of-this-world. Team GB, such a dominant force within European Boccia, was completely over shadowed by the might of the Far Eastern Teams and the everconsistent Brazil. Thailand utterly annihilated Team GB in the Semi-final of the BC1/2 Team competition 18-1. The power shown by the Thailand Athletes was unreal; every time Team GB placed a ball in front of the Jack it was removed and replaced by their commanding opponents within a couple of balls. This tactic cancelled out Team GB’s short

jack advantage every time and cost them heavily in points lost. Thailand proved equally effective on their long Jacks too and by the half way stage had carved out a 12-0 advantage. Team GB simply had no answer to the seemingly inexorable rampage of Thailand. Team GB’s dream of defending their Paralympic title was unceremoniously snatched from them by a Team that out played them in every aspect of the match. After their crushing defeat to Thailand, Team GB showed great heart and spirit to put it behind them to grab the Bronze Medal and give the Crowd an excuse to raise the roof off the Excel. In a thrilling game, in which Portugal took a 1-0 lead after the first end, Team GB proved why they were ranked third in the world, built up a 6-1 lead in the following three ends. A massive blip in the fifth end, where Portugal scored 4 points to bring them within touching distance of Team GB, made for a tense finale. Team GB rode the storm though and won the last point, beating Portugal 7-5 overall. The Gold Medal Match of the BC1/2 Team class saw a thoroughly impressive Thailand face China, who, after overcoming favourites Korea in the Quarterfinals, was going to prove tough competition. This was confirmed in the first 3 ends of the match, Thailand narrowly ahead by 3-1. Even after China lost another 2 points in the forth end, but they were still in the game. This was until Thailand doubled their point tally to 10 after grabbing a massive 5 points in the following end. Going into the last end 10-1 up, Thailand had already claimed gold, but China wasn’t finished. China snatched up 4 points in the last end as the Thailand

BOCCIA ON THE WORLD STAGE: A Paralympic Boccia Synopsis

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Athletes lost concentrations; these points didn’t change the medal standing, but did help China get some pride back. The Thailand Team wheeled up on to the top tier of the winner’s podium as 10-5 victors over Silver Medallist, China. Elsewhere in the BC4 classification, the McGuire brothers duo of Stephen and Peter had reached the Bronze Medal playoffs too, having narrowly lose out 4-3 to reigning Paralympic Champions Brazil in the Semis. Canada, Team GB’s opponents for the Bronze, didn’t give the brothers any opportunities to get into the game and held a commanding 8-1 going into the last end. The McGuires got a consolation point in this final end and Canada claimed the Bronze (above). In an entertaining Final of two halves, Brazil took 5 points in the first two ends against the Czech Republic pair, but the Czechs were not going down without a fight and stole 2 points away from the Brazilians in the third end. With a 3-point advantage going into the last end, Brazil managed to cut Czech Republic down to a single point and retain their title as BC4 mixed pairs champions. In the BC3 pairs competition, where athletes use ramps operated

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by assistants, GB were drawn in a pool with World Number 1 Greece and Beijing winners Republic of Korea. GB lost both match, but got a consolation victory against Canada, which could have been enough to put them through if other results went their way. The results didn’t go their way, meaning Greece and Korea progressed to the semi-finals. Korea suffered a narrow 4-3 defeat and was stopped from reaching the Final by Portugal. Greece put on a solid performance to beat Belgium 7–0 to claim their spot in the BC3 pairs final. The accuracy associated with the elite of the BC3 classification was lacking a bit in a few shots; but when the players got their eye in it was amazing to watch. Greece’s Grigorios Polychronidis carried his teammate, Nikolaos Pananos, from time-to-time, but, even, so both players forged a 4-0 lead in first three ends. Pananos was substituted out in favour of Maria-Eleni Kordali for the last end. Portugal got a consolatory point in the final end was not enough to stop Greece clinching Gold. In the Bronze Medal Match third-inthe-world Belgium bested a disappointed Korea 4-3.


In my opinion the individual finals were the most exciting and exhilarating action I had the pleasure of witnessing at the games. Being the last day and all, the athletes had a week of experience under their belts, the standard of play went through the roof. Every athlete that made it through their semis pull out all the stops in an attempt to be crowned Paralympic Champions of their class.

Tadtong bettered his Bronze from Beijing four years ago by winning his second of the Gold London Games. Although Silver is still an amazing achievement for David Smith, bringing his overall tally of Paralympic Medals to three. Elsewhere in BC1, Norwegian Roger Aandalen beat Brazil’s Jose Carlos Chagas de Oliveira to Bronze 6-4.

In a thrilling BC1 Individual Mixed Final, GB’s David Smith faced off with Pattaya Tadtong of Thailand, Smith playing blue. Tadtong wasted no time in the first end and carved a 2-point lead after using sheer power and deadly accuracy to better any shot Smith made. On Smiths own jack Tadtong used his awesome power to knock Smiths balls away and claim a third point. No matter what David did Pattaya had a shot in his arsenal to beat it. The third end was the killer blow for Smith as the Thai Paralympian broke through to score a further 3 points. 6-0 down going into the final end Smith needed all 6 of his blue ball to score to force a tiebreak, but it was never meant to be.

On paper, the BC2 Individual class final looked like another impressive Gold Medal for Brazil Maciel Sousa Santos, although this was the one final I didn’t get to watch. Sousa Santos beat his Chinese opponent, Yan Zhiqiang, 8-0. Bronze went to Korea’s So-Yeong Jeong after her 5-1 win over Kai Zhong of China; Zhong being the player who knocked Nigal Murray out in the Quarter-finals.

The brilliance of David’s opponent proved too challenging in the end and Smith conceded another point to lose 7-0. Pattaya

In an all-Korea BC3 Individual Final, where the lead swapped hands three times over four ends, Ye-Jin Choi bettered fellow countryman Ho-Won Jeong 4-3 in an extremely tight games. In the first two ends both players showed amazing accuracy and composure to knock each other’s balls off the jack and replace it with their own colour; but it was Choi who secured a point in each

BOCCIA ON THE WORLD STAGE: A Paralympic Boccia Synopsis

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“ The BC4 Gold Medal game was the very last Boccia match of London 2012; and what a climax to the Games it was. I thought I had witnessed the peak of World class play, but the BC4 Individual final was out of this World.” of those ends. Jeong came back with vengeance, claiming 3 points in the penultimate end and setting up a tense last end. Choi kept her nerve and secured 2 points and the Gold Medal. Jose Macedo of Portugal stood in the way of Han-Soo Kim and prevent Korea winning a clean sweep of BC3 Medal by winning Bronze himself. In the equally absorbing BC4 Individual class, Stephen McGuire of Great Britain lost out to China’s unbelievably strong Yuansen Zheng in the Semis 12-0. Stephen then narrowly lost out in the Bronze Match against the World Number 1, Brazilian Eliseu dos Santos, 5-3. McGuire was 5 points down after two ends before he started fighting back; closing the gap to 2 points by the end of the match. Although, two Bronze matches for first-time Paralympian is quite an achievement. The BC4 Gold Medal game was the very last Boccia match of London 2012; and what a climax to the Games it was. I thought I had witnessed the peak of World class play, but the BC4 Individual final was out of this World. Brazilian Dirceu Jose Pinto, who knocked out teammate dos Santos in the Semis, faced China’s Yuansen Zheng. Both athletes preferred medium-long jacks and both were equally matched. One would get their ball nearly on and then the other would knock it away and get closer, which in itself was impressive as the jack was always set at least seven metres

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away. The to and fro element made for an extremely exciting and tight game. It was therefore no surprise the match ended in a tiebreak. This tiebreak reflected the previous four ends; at one point Pinto had a perfect ball right on the jack, but Zheng executed an astonishing lob with enough venom to knock the white ball back a couple of feet. After a breath-taking flourish from the two finalists, Dirceu Jose Pinto emerged the victor. After an exhilarating sevens days of competition, the Paralympic Boccia drew to a close on the 8th September. Twenty-one Medals won by nine Nations; Brazil topping the Boccia Medal table with three Golds and a Bronze, followed by Thailand with two Golds. Great Britain finishing joint sixth with Portugal, but for Nigel Murray it was the greatest ever Paralympics. In the interview given to Boccia Inclusive he says: “London 2012 Paralympic Games was in my opinion the greatest ever games. I feel this was primarily due to the excellent sporting facilities for all athletes and the incredible support we received from the British public, either by coming to watch at venues or through the media.” Author: David Hill


BOCCIA ON THE WORLD STAGE: A Paralympic Boccia Synopsis

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BOCCIA PLAYERS TO GAMES MAKERS: A September to Remember London 2012 was an once-in-a-lifetime chance for British Olympians and Paralympians to compete in the World’s biggest sporting event on Home Soil, in front of a Home crowd. It was also a grand opportunity for aspiring British Athletes along with tens of thousands to get involved as Games Makers. For aspiring Boccia Players from the England Squad, this prospect of being part of a Paralympic Games was hard to ignore. Some, including myself, leapt at possibility of becoming a Games Maker for this very reason: to be a part of something very special. After a lengthy interview process we were chosen as volunteers and assigned various roles, some very interesting and others repetitive or mundane. I was fortunate to be given a great role as a call room member, signing in Athletes before their respective Matches and Typing out score sheets. Of course some jobs were more desirable than others. These jobs including greeting VIPs such as Prince Edward, who has been a long-time Boccia fan and even went to watch the sport in Beijing; brushing the courts was another top job simply because Games Makers watched the action inbetween sweeps. On the other end the scale was Gamer Makers who spent their Paralympics watching the doors of VIP Lounges for hours at a time.

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Luckily for myself the Games Makers experience was an exciting one and inbetween jobs I had great chances to see some incredible Boccia matches, including most of the finals. Although in my opinion, LOCOG oversubscribed on Games Makers. There were twice as many than was really needed and half of them were either looking for jobs in other departments or watching the Paralympic events. I am not complaining though, I loved watching some outstanding Boccia and was blown away by the awesome talent that was on display. Nothing could come close to the feeling of competing at the Games, but the experience of volunteering, being at the heart the action, was a comforting second. Author: David Hill


BOCCIA PLAYERS TO GAMES MAKERS: A September to Remember

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LEE MADDISON: My Games Maker Experience Being a Games Maker was an honour; just being there, part of the Games, made you feel like you were a key component of a well-worked machine. Being a Games Maker was such an honour; just being there, part of the Games, made you feel like you were a key component of a well-worked machine.

show on earth - there were no barriers - everyone was equal. Hopefully with this people will take more notice of the person & not the disability

People even noticed and recognised you coming out of your hotel room because of the kit you wore and wanted to talk to you.

As a Boccia player the Paralympic Games was watched and covered how it should have been and this was long over due. There are still lessons to be learned but I think that as a country we have now set the precedence.

The atmosphere between all the Games Makers was great. There was never a moan or an unhappy face. In my team, everybody spoke and helped each other. We had an on-going quiz in our break out area, which was a talking point and got everyone involved. I really feel that I experienced the country coming together, working together and providing the greatest

As a BC3 player - I think it needs to be recognised that the amount of equipment we need to play does not reflect our intelligence or our ability to play the game. Yes, we need lots of support to play our sport, but that is purely a physical need.

FAR TOP: GB coming off court; taken by Lee in the Mixed zone where Games Makers in wheelchair watched the action. FAR BOTTOM LEFT: Lee sporting Bronze with Zoe Robinson after GB BC1/2 Medal success. FAR BOTTOM RIGHT: Lee poses with the secrurity men at the workforce checkpoint. RIGHT: Lee poses with the GB BC1/2 Team

LEE MADDISON: My Games Maker Experience

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EMMA HARRIS: The Games and a Decade of Boccia “ It has been absolutely amazing to represent my country and I get such a buzz, especially when we travel abroad for competitions. My first competition abroad was in Prague... l couldn’t believe I did so well in my first international...”

I’ve played Boccia for over ten years. I’m in the BC3 classification witch means I’m unable to throw a ball, so I use a ramp and have a ramp assistant, who sits facing me with their back to the court. I tell them what direction I want the ramp, they will then move it and put the ball in the ramp. I can’t release the ball with my hand, so I use a head pointer. In training I always start by doing jack/first ball to get my eye in. Then I work on the areas that I think needs improving; they could be blocking, getting through a gap, rolling into a space. I always finish my training sessions with playing ends against myself, so I know what I need to work on next time. When you get to the higher levels in Boccia, the BC3s calibrate their ramps; calibrating a ramp means you put markers on it so you can estimate the pace of the ball when it is released on your ramp. I’ve been playing for England off and on since 2003; it has been absolutely amazing to represent my country and I get such a buzz, especially when we travel abroad for competitions. My first competition abroad was in Prague, l came 8th, l couldn’t believe I did so well in my first international competition. I enter my regional competition every year and hope to qualify

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for the national competition. Starting last year you can enter two regional, a home and away. One year I came third at the Nationals which meant qualified for GB championships, it was absolutely amazing to qualify because I’ve been trying for so many years, then I finally did it. One my best Boccia moments was when I just got back into the England squad, I was competing in the Cheshire international, the feeling I had waiting to go on court, knowing I was going to represent my country was amazing. I was a Games Maker at the Paralympics working in Boccia. I was on the sports information desk where I was part of a team. I welcomed the athletes as they came in, gave the team managers any information they needed, answered any questions they had, and put results on the wall. I worked in the village one morning; it was lovely to see the village, really impressive. It was amazing to be a part of the Paralympics. I met some really lovely people, which I hope to keep in touch with. Author: Emma Harris


RIGHT: Emma posing with Mandeville outside the Excel just before her very first shift as a Games Maker at the Paralympics BELOW: Emma with Ce Turk

EMMA HARRIS: The Games and a Decade of Boccia

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INTERVIEW WITH... Nigel Murray: Boccia Superstar Boccia Inclusive is fortunate to have Nigel Murray, the most successful British Boccia athlete of all time, talk to us about his remarkable achievements during his playing career, including the Team Bronze Medal he won this year in front of a Home Crowd at London 2012. This Boccia legend will forever be remembered as the first Briton to win Gold in Paralympic Boccia. The four-time Paralympian has won 2 Gold Medals, Individual in Sydney 2000 and Team in Beijing 2008; a Individual Silver Medal, also in Beijing; and a Team Bronze Medal in recent Home Games. I would like to begin by thanking Nigel for the opportunity to ask him about his relationship with Boccia and his thoughts on London 2012. My current relationship with Boccia is that I am a member of the G.B. Squad and compete both individually (BC2 Class) and within the team, of which I am captain. I have also recently joined the board of England Boccia. London 2012 Paralympic Games was in my opinion the greatest ever games. I feel this was primarily due to the excellent sporting facilities for all athletes and the incredible support we received from the British public, either by coming to watch at venues or through the media. Before we dive into the latest Paralympic Games I would like to know a bit about your Boccia background. I have been on the Boccia scene for seven years and in all that time you have always been the top BC2 in the world. When did you discover Boccia? How quick was your rise up through the ranks?

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I first became aware of Boccia in the early 1990’s when I attended a Disability Sports Taster Day as part of my job role working for Social Services in Warwickshire. I first started competing in 1998, when I attended the Midlands Boccia Regional Championships, which I won, this enabled me to compete at the England National Finals later that year. The following year I was selected to compete for England at the World Cup in Argentina. In your very first Paralympic Games in Sydney you won Gold in the Individual event, how did it feel being on the podium receiving your Medal? What was your very first International competition with GB? Do you still hold fond memories of it or is it just a haze? Was this the moment that spurred you on to compete in three more Paralympic Games? In 2000 I was selected to compete for G.B. at the Sydney Paralympic Games where I became the first British Boccia player to win an individual gold medal at a Paralympics. I have fond memories of my early international competitions, in particular my first Paralympics and first major medal. This was the start of my medal success at major international competitions and at present I currently have a grand total of 17 medals from both individual and team events, so certainly Sydney had a huge impact on my future career.


INTERVIEW WITH... Nigel Murray: Boccia Superstar

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“ This was the start of my medal success at major international competitions and at present I currently have a grand total of 17 medals from both individual and team events, so certainly Sydney had a huge impact on my future career.� After disappoint in Athens 2004, you came back strong in Beijing, winning Individual Silver and Team Gold. You have previously described captaining GB to victory in the Team event as your proudest moment in Boccia, can you elaborate on this? Athens was a huge disappointment for me personally, both individually and in the team. Our loss to Portugal (who went onto win gold) in the semi final, which was by millimetres on the last ball of the game, was the lowest point of my career. However, I believe this gave me the determination to come back stronger 4 years later and make amends in Beijing ! This we did in winning team gold in Beijing, my proudest moment and made even sweeter by the fact that we defeated Portugal in the final - Happy Days ! To win gold alongside Dan, David and Zoe will always be the greatest day of my playing career and to do it also playing for the greatest coach I have had the pleasure to play for, Jacqueline Lynn, made it a special occasion in my career . Is winning Team Gold in Beijing still you proudest moment? If so, captaining GB in a Home Games must be a close second. The Home crowd were electric; I have never seen so many people watch Boccia before. Did the crowd help or hinder you? It was always my dream after Beijing to compete in London and defend our team title. Unfortunately, we were unable to win Gold, however, the Team Bronze medal we did win felt as good as getting gold! This was due to the unbelievable support

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we received on court at the Excel Arena. In all the years I have competed I have never witnessed crowds or support like it at a Boccia competition, it made me proud to be British and represent my country at the greatest ever Paralympic Games. The passion of the support certainly lifted us throughout the competition and as a player I love to play in front of a crowd, which creates an atmosphere to perform in front of. London was also the first time in my career that my family had seen me play and in particular my mum, who saw us win both our pool matches, well, I dare not lose with her watching! Describe you thoughts and feeling of the atmosphere inside the Olympic Stadium for Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Bet you never experienced anything like that before? Parading out at a Paralympic Games is always a special moment for any athlete, but nothing could beat the noise when we went out into the Stadium in London - UNBELIEVABLE!!! I was so proud and honoured to be there, representing my country. The GB BC1/2 Team sailed through to the Semi-finals but was over powered by an unbelievably strong Thailand Team. Was it difficult to pick yourselves up for the Bronze Match after that? After losing to Thailand we were all gutted, not the fact that we lost, but the fact that we did not play anywhere near to the standard we all know we can. Although down after the loss we


“ Parading out at a Paralympic Games is always a special moment for any athlete, but nothing could beat the noise when we went out into the Stadium in London - UNBELIEVABLE!” knew we had to pick ourselves up for the Bonze Medal match the following day, when our opponents would once again be Portugal! Prior to the game, I told myself this was the Gold Medal match and that I knew we were a better team than them. The rest they say is now history! After coming through the Bronze Match as victors. the Team took away a Medal from a Home Games. What did this mean to you winning in front of a British Crowd? Winning the Bronze was unbelievable, as I have already said, it felt like the final. The crowd noise when we won will always stay with me, as will going onto the Podium to get our Medal and along with the celebrations afterwards! During my time watching the Boccia in the Paralympics I noticed a shift in dominance since Beijing. The Far Eastern countries of China, Korea and Thailand dominated BC1,2 and 3, was this a factor in your shock Quarter-final exit in the Individual event? The Asian playing countries are certainly now the leading Boccia nations across many of the classes, but I still believe G.B. is right up there with them. I was disappointed to lose my individual quarterfinal game, as I did not play up to the level I know is my usual game. That’s sport I guess, I know there is never such a thing as an easy game and at times the balls do not always run

INTERVIEW WITH... Nigel Murray: Boccia Superstar

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“ Winning the Bronze was unbelievable ... it felt like the final. The crowd noise when we won will always stay with me, as will going onto the Podium to get our Medal...” how you want them too, that’s life and you have to move on, but that loss really hurt a great deal! Before we conclude our interview I like to take this opportunity to inquire your plans for the future. Before the start of London 2012 you vowed it was going to be your last, is this still true? If so, what is next for Nigel Murray? Will you remain in Boccia in another capacity other than playing? London was certainly my last Paralympic Games as an athlete, however, I have yet to decide whether I will compete at the Europeans next year, but that is a decision to be made in the coming months with team management. So it’s a case of watch this space. Either way, I would love to stay involved in some capacity in the future, otherwise I will be cheering from the side. Thank you so much Nigel for answering my questions. It is so fascinating to get a personal insight into Boccia from an absolute legend of the sport. It is also amazing to hear you talk about the early stages of your career. Congratulations on you Bronze Medal and I wish you all the best for the future. Nigel Murray interviewed by David Hill

INTERVIEW WITH... Nigel Murray: Boccia Superstar

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SAM OLDKNOW: Reaching New Boccia Heights I have been playing Boccia for around seven years now. I attended a “Playground to Podium” event when I was 8 years old and was identified as a potential Boccia player. From the event I was invited to join the Notts Elite Boccia squad.

The Notts Elite Boccia squad is run by Pete Edwards and, in joining, I hoped to enjoy it. From the moment I first began to play Boccia I found it really fun to be part of. I felt that it was a sport that I could compete in against my peers and hopefully progress through to the highest level. Over the past seven years I have made steady progress under the tutition of my coach and with the support of my teammates at Nottingham Boccia Club. However, the last twelve months have been amazing. I have always worked hard at the sport and always wanted to climb the ladder of success, but I never dreamed it would happen so quickly. Over the last year I have competed in many different competitions and tournaments and have seen my confidence rise with every event. It all began at the Regional competition in early December 2011, where I was looking to retain the title I had won in 2010. I played well throughout the day, reaching the final against my friend and club teammate Patrick Mawson. Having to beat him is never an easy thing to do and this final was no different. But I did, enabling me to gain automatic selection into the National competition in May 2012.

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Another event I played in last year was the Pan Disability Community league, where my team finished top of our division. I went on to captain my side to sixth place in the national finals, which were held in Nottingham. I felt disappointed that day because I don’t think I played as well as I could. But looking back we had to be pleased with where we finished, and the progress we had made. I also competed at the DSE games in Sheffield, where things just didn’t seem to go my way and no matter what I tried I just seem to come up short each time. I used this event as practice for the National finals, which were later that month, but I still don’t like losing. The DSE’s opened my eyes to the fact that you must always keep pushing forward and always look for the positives in everything. Looking back I think the DSE was probably the best preparation for the National I could have had. At the National competition I took each game one at a time, focusing on winning each tie before I looked to the next. I ended up winning every match right through to the final. In the final I came up against Nigel Murray, who is now a BC1/2 Team Bronze Medallist from London 2012 (and a bit of a hero of mine).


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“ I had been selected to play in the England squad. As soon as I read it I felt ecstatic and a bit nervous about the new challenge ahead.” Even though I lost the final I felt that I tried my best. I was really happy that I got that far in the competition against some world-class opponents. After my success at the Nationals, I got invited to join the England Talent Development Squad. This was the next step for me on the way to reaching my end goal. The Talent Squad training camp has a group of coaches, who help athletes advance to the next level of play by teaching different techniques in dealing with situations you might find yourself in during competition. I really enjoyed the Development Squad. The positive coaching and the friendship that was shown to me really help me understand what was important. I think it is a great place train and develop and I am looking forward to some of my old & new friends progressing through into the England team. I had to have a break in training over the summer as I was in hospital following an operation to try and reduce the spasticity in my legs. Post op physio had taken up quite a bit of time and I was anxious to get back to training. But I was advised to ‘take my time’, which wasn’t easy. In September, I received an Email from Boccia England, which said that I had been selected to play in

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the England squad. As soon as I read it I felt ecstatic and a bit nervous about the new challenge ahead. I did not need to worry though as the team and coaches were really welcoming and I think I fitted in well. Only time will tell whether I can bring something to the team, but I know I will give it my best shot. The future: well my goal has always been the Paralympics and after London 2012 that dream is even greater. I hope to be chosen for the Great Britain squad and to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics Games, and, while I am there, why not bring home a medal, hopefully gold? Author Sam Oldknow

Above: Sam with Coach Pete Edwards and Teammate Patrick Mawson from Nottingham Boccia Club, taken at the 2011/2012 Midlands Regionals. RIGHT: Sam collecting his silver medal won at the 2012 Boccia England National Finals


SAM OLDKNOW: Reaching New Boccia Heights

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DO IT YOURSELF: Tips on How to Raise Your Game There have been many requests from readers wanting practical advice about how to improve their Boccia skills and progress on to their National Teams. In the next issue of Boccia Inclusive we will explore this in more detail, getting coaches and players to share their wisdom on the matter. But for this issue I will present some basic tips to help raise the level of play for new and hobby players. Concentration, Confidence and consistency are three important factors in improving within any sport. To compete at a high level you need consistency in accuracy and pace to put the ball exactly where you want it; whether rolling up to the jack, into a gap, or knocking a ball in/away. Then you also need to have complete confidence in your ability to make that shot and concentration while taking it. The more consistent you become, the more confidence you are; and vice versa. If you suffer a lack of confidence or concentration it will have a negative affect on your game play, even the best players can have bad shots if they start doubting their ability or not as focus as they need to be. To build up consistency in your skills will take time, dedication and commitment. Firstly you need to make sure your equipment is suited to you. If you are new to the game try borrowing as many different sets of balls during club training before you buy your own set. Boccia balls are an expensive investment and choosing the right set is an important decision. Having a wrong set can hinder your Boccia progression. For example, having balls that you find difficult to slow the pace

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down in order to stop in a gap may mean the balls are too hard; whereas if you find it difficult going beyond four metres may mean the balls are too soft. Of course, over time, your preference of the type of ball to use will change as your experience as a player grows maybe even to the extent of using a mixed set of balls. It is therefore advisable to discuss all this with a coach at your club before buying your own set. The wheelchair you are playing Boccia in can also affect your movement as you throw. The advantages of a manual chair are size and the option to easily detach armrests/footplates. The compactness of a manual chair means you can position it at almost any angle within the throwing box while keeping inside the lines. Easily detachable arms and footplates allows for the removal of parts that impede the player’s throwing action. Disadvantages of manual are the stability of the chair and difficulty for some players to move themselves; although BC1s are allowed an assistant to move their chair and hold it steady. Powered wheelchairs on the other hand offer increased stability and independence for players to move


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“Your coaches should be able to help you put together a training plan as they know you best and can advise on areas of play you need to work on.” themselves into position. The size of some powered chairs makes it difficult to keep within the throwing box and hard to see if a wheel in on a line. Sorting the right equipment will only go so far, personal training is where the dedication and commitment comes into play. Most Boccia clubs only meet once a month and one training session a month is not enough to improve your skill level; even if you are lucky in the fact your club meets once a week, it is still only four or five practise sessions a month. Organising your own training in between club meets is essential for player development. This being said, it is also essential to have some structure to personal training, a plan of what exercises to cover each training session. I recommend the GB website as it holds a range of different exercises you can incorporate into your own routine; the Boccia England website also has useful training ideas, but these are more for new players (see resources at the end of the article for both links). Your coaches should be able to help you put together a training plan as they know you best and can advise on areas of play you need to work on.

Working on your actual throwing technique is very important too for consistency. This is not just about the way you throw but also how you position your chair in relation to your intended target, whether you line yourself up using your knee or wheel as a reference point. Lining up assures a higher chance of the ball going in the direction you want it to. The way you release the ball as you throw also affects how it behaves. As a roller if I let the ball go too late it lobs into the air and does not roll smoothly; whereas if I let it go too early the power and accuracy suffers. My wrist sometimes twists as I release, causing the ball to veer to the left or right even when I am lined up properly. The point I am making is, in the moments before throwing a ball a high level of concentration is needed to give the best chance for a perfect throwing action. Hopefully these pointers will help some of you begin the leap from hobby player towards elite player. Author: David Hill

Resources Boccia England Training Videos http://www.bocciaengland.org.uk/training_videos.php Boccia England’s resource list http://www.bocciaengland.org.uk/resources.php GB Boccia Basic Training Drills http://www.gb-boccia.org/page.asp?section=34&sectionTitle=Coaching

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BOCCIA ENGLAND TALENT SQUAD: Developing the Future of Boccia At Excel during the Paralympics, and since, I have heard many athletes express a wish to play for GB in Rio. The path to international success is as challenging in boccia as any other sport. Unfortunately dreams do not come true by wishing but they can become a reality through hard work and careful planning. The recently established Boccia England Talent squad is a stepping-stone on the way to representing a Home Nation and then Great Britain. Players are selected through achieving at National competition or being identified by the selection team as having genuine potential. This might mean someone who has shown skill in Regionals or an Open competition but only been playing for a few months, or a young athlete who has played for several years and is now maturing and developing in their sport and able to compete at a senior level. As Head Coach, I am privileged to be in a position to create and develop the Talent Squad. My role is to try and capture the potential that has been identified by the selection team; and help each individual player to build on this to be ready to move onto the England Squad; either as a full England athlete or into the soon to be established Lions Squad. Subject to funding, Boccia England hope to create the Lions, an England B team, thus creating a structure that players can mature into in terms of their knowledge, skills and experience in boccia. In order to support developing players I work closely with Richard Evans, the Performance and Talent Manager, and Matt Kendrick, Project Officer, of Boccia England, in planning and running training camps. We are then joined by a group of experienced and committed volunteer classification coaches and assistant coaches. The coaching team includes club coaches, national referees and national classifiers, various sports and psychology degrees.

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The overall strategy for the Talent Squad is approved by Boccia England and takes into account what the England Squad are working towards. The coaching plan is drawn up to recognise the needs of each classification and the skills identified for development. As Head Coach, I take the lead in the structure of the weekend and ensuring its effective delivery; but each Classification coach plans and delivers the session for their group, balancing what individuals need and how each group of players can work together. As a coaching team, we try to meet on the Friday night prior to a training weekend to go over our plans. Each weekend commences at 9am on the Saturday with a whole squad briefing, and then it’s down to business. The structured sessions include a brief theory discussion, skills practice and then a short game to put the skills into practice before a joint review between players and coach. On the second day there is match play, the athletes enjoy the competitive element and it also allows the coaches to observe each player’s progress. If the weekend is

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shared with the England Squad, the matches might be against the teams or pairs; giving valuable experience for the Talent Squad, and, we hope, making sure the England Players know Talent is knocking at the door. It would be easy for the Talent Camps to be formal and hard work. Instead, we have approached the process that developing players need to be highly motivated and enjoy themselves. There is much research around about why players who enjoy their sport stick around, train harder and achieve more. The transition from school, college or club play into more structured, longer training sessions can be daunting. We have collected information from the Squad and it comes as no surprise that the top reasons for being in Talent are to develop new skills, hone existing skills, play competitively and go further in their Boccia careers. However, the feedback also includes the importance of having fun, making new friends and playing in teams. Hopefully we will continue to deliver this.


One fun, and highly competitive, activity that runs throughout each weekend is the Tie Break Tenner, or Tenner Challenge. During the camp each athlete has one attempt with 6 balls to win £10 (or a share if more than one person gains the most points, 10 points are awarded for each successful shot). We have a £10 note copied onto the centre of an A4 sheet of paper. The sheet is placed slightly forward of the jack ball cross with the jack ball on the back of the paper exactly over the cross. Just like in a tie break there is no practice and the jack is already in place. The aim is to put a coloured ball onto the tenner (must not touch the line around the outside of the tenner) and not to move the jack. Tough, of course! But achievable – I have lost £10 every camp so far. But hopefully, when next faced with a tie break the Talent players will visualise the tenner and know exactly what to do to win their match. In fact, after popular request from coaches, parents and assistants, we will be instigating a tenner challenge for them (although the prize might be a bar of chocolate, I’m not made of £10 notes).

The reward for volunteering is watching the Talent athletes grow and develop in their play. During each and every activity session I see players who actively listen, determinedly practice to do what’s asked of them and are undoubtedly making progress. It becomes clear when they return to the next camp they have taken on board the advice and guidance from the coaches, practised the routines and activities requested at home, school, college and club. Over the last few years I have watch the bar raised as new players fight hard to get to the top, each year the standard of play is going up and up. Unfortunately the GB squad is not large enough for each and every Talent player to go on to international glory, but I have absolutely no doubt that there will be many great achievements from these players in future. Author: Liz Moulam

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RED OR BLUE? Reasons We Pick One Over the Other We all have favourites; two identical pairs of socks – but we prefer to wear one colour over another; over time that pair wears thin, makes a hole and is no longer fit for purpose. Should boccia balls be any different? It seems most players prefer one colour ball over the other: is it wise to prefer red or blue? Could it be the choice, to play with red or blue, is down to what that colour might mean? Red is the colour of fight, power, energy, courage, aggression and masculinity, heat, and passion. Blue the colour of calm, cool, control and containment, magic, establishment and royalty. It seems, particularly at the beginning of their boccia journey, many players prefer one colour over another. They prefer to practice with that one colour and when it comes to match play choose that colour when they win the toss. Psychologically, this favoured colour makes them feel more confident. Practising with one colour more than another can affect the way the balls perform. Balls that are in constant use change, they become softer and may roll more easily. The player becomes used to how far they will roll, if they will bounce off a static ball or come to gently rest for exactly the right shot. What began life as a set of 12 identical balls (plus the jack) gradually over time become 2 very distinct sets of balls that behave differently. Imagine coming into a competition, losing the coin toss and having to play with balls that do not perform in the way you have become used to, or that make you feel less than confident.

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Players may also choose a colour because of the way it lets them play their own boccia game. Choosing red allows the athlete to go into competition all guns blazing, to set the standard and take early control of the game. As the aggressive fighter’s choice, opting for red shows the opposition they have no fear, are ready to take the lead and are there for the battle. But, alternatively there are benefits to choosing blue; the player is confident enough in their own ability to wait and see what their rival can do, they feel calm and in control and recognise going into the last end they will know exactly what they need to do to win the game. There is no right or wrong, players will always prefer one colour over another, just like socks. But, great players know they need to practice with both sets of coloured balls equally, choosing to practice activities with the colour they wouldn’t normally choose in a match. Being able to execute their game with any ball in their bag they try and keep their balls consistent in the way they perform. And, when the chips are down and the coin is tossed every player wants to feel confident they can rely on the colour they will play, be it blue or red. Author: Liz Moulam


RED OR BLUE? Reasons We Pick One Over the Otherr

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DEMAND FOR BOCCIA RAMPS KEEPS GROWING A low profile charity supporting people with physically disabilities that is also the world’s biggest Boccia ramp manufacturer. How did that happen? Let’s start by asking who are DEMAND? DEMAND: aka ‘Design and Manufacture for Disability’, is a UK based charity. It is a charity dedicated to helping people with disabilities acquire the bespoke equipment they need to help them with their everyday lives. Over the last 30 years, the people at the heart of this vital charity have helped transform the lives of more than 10,000 people of all ages and with all types of disability. How do they support their clients? DEMAND’s engineering and design expertise enables them to manufacture bespoke equipment that offers unique and practical solutions. From two sites in the UK, the team of 20 staff work with individuals to design and manufacture equipment that makes their daily life easier or helps them to enjoy sport and leisure activities. Those with special requirements frequently find there is no ‘offthe- shelf’ solution. The donations received by DEMAND enable them to dedicate the time necessary to design solutions specific to an individual and provide the resultant equipment free of charge. So why does the charity, DEMAND, manufacture Boccia ramps?

charitable work. Therefore DEMAND’s provision of Boccia ramps helps the organisation continue to support their charitable aim of offering one-off equipment – free of charge – to their disabled clients. How serious are DEMAND about their Boccia ramps? DEMAND believes that they are the world’s biggest manufacturers of Boccia Ramps. For several years they worked closely with the medal winning Great Britain Boccia International Team developing Ramps suitable for the BC3 class of the sport. Their well respected Ramps have been shipped from their workshop in the U.K. to Boccia players around the world. They are in dialogue with many of the world’s Boccia international organisations. What’s DEMAND been doing in Boccia in 2012? 2012 has been a busy year. DEMAND continue to be responsible for all aspects of their Boccia ramps and accessory products - their small team designs, manufactures, sells and supports all their Boccia-related output. The following summarises their two most significant developments in Boccia over the last six months or so. 1. The Boccia Fusion Ramp:

DEMAND makes Boccia ramps available so that more people can experience this sport. For the last 8 years DEMAND has manufactured Boccia Ramps. By doing this we have made Boccia more easily accessible to those who want to add a new sport to their leisure activities. The proceeds from the manufacture and sale of our Boccia products go towards supporting our not-for-profit

This ramp was recently introduced and is the result of almost a decade of development and research in this field. This is DEMANDs most comprehensive and professional Boccia Ramp. The Boccia FUSION incorporates a whole new swivel mechanism allowing the ramp section to be rotated whilst the base remains

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LEFT: The Boccia Fusion Ramp, developed and contructed by DEMAND. being demonstrated by Australian player Rachel Sutton. FAR TOP LEFT: A swivel seat with a built-in ball holder for use by Boccia Assistant. In a sitting position, the Assistant has up to 13 Boccia balls at arm’s reach under the seat. FAR TOP RIGHT: The first Head Pointer created by DEMAND.

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stationary offering the player a more precise level of control. Other features include levelling feet with angle and length adjustable legs to guarantee stable and precise operation of the product. The FUSION also comes as a complete kit including two ramp extensions and head pointer all included in a custom made carry case for ease of transportation. We have a range of Boccia ramps that have appeal from the hobbyist right through to the international player. DEMAND’s ramps have been bought by national teams and are under active consideration by several more national teams.

• • • • •

2. Boccia News web portal: • Boccia News (boccianews.com) is an online information resource compiled and presented by DEMAND. The web site provides information about the Boccia products that are available from DEMAND. It also offers a regularly updated news service about what is happening in the world of Boccia. Also there is a collection of links to resources offering a wealth of information about the sport covering topics such as its history, how to play it, its international coverage and much more.

The Assistant remains comfortable during the game on the vinyl padded circular seat. The seat swivels left and right enabling the Assistant to switch positions easily. Besides the 360° horizontal movement, the seat can be adjusted up and down in an instant using the easily reached lever under the seat. In a sitting position, the Assistant has up to 13 Boccia balls at arm’s reach under the seat. The ergonomically shaped ball holder allows quick and simple lifting of every ball. The seated Assistant can move around the box area because of the 360° rotating castor wheels.

DEMAND are always keen to talk with people and organisations about how we might work with them to support the equipment needs of Boccia players in your locality. People can contact us via stephen@demand.org.uk

What next for DEMAND and their involvement in Boccia? Before the end of 2012, DEMAND will offer its first Head Pointer plus a range of Boccia Ball Holders and even a seat with a built-in ball holder for use by Boccia Assistants. The new Boccia BC3 Ramp Assistant Seat has many benefits including the following:

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What does the future hold for Boccia? The sport is poised for further growth. The feedback DEMAND has been receiving suggests that there are many ideas out there to help promote the sport - but what is needed is a forum to share those ideas. Perhaps there is a need to create an international forum where those who love Boccia can share their experiences and ideas on how to increase the popularity of Boccia in terms of more players, more leagues, more events, more fans... If this idea is interesting to you or someone you know in the world of Boccia then DEMAND would be so grateful to hear from you. We would be happy to act as an independent facilitator of this forum, if people wish. If this idea sounds interesting to you then all you have to do, at this stage, is respond directly to DEMAND via email to - stephen@demand.org.uk - saying “it sounds interesting” to you (plus the contact details of anyone else you think should be invited). DEMAND will come back with a summary of the responses they have received from others who are also positive about the idea of an international forum to help promote Boccia. And let’s see where we can go next. Boccia can become bigger and it will if we all wish it to happen! Author: Stephen Jones

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DEAN NOTTLE AND FIONA LYONS: Words of Australian Paralympic Potentials Australia just missed out on qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympics in Boccia. The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has committed to ensuring that Australia will qualify for Rio 2016. A group of athletes has been chosen to form the Paralympic Preparation Program (PPP) squad from which a National Boccia Team will be selected. Fiona Lyons BC2 Lives in Brisbane, Australia Has been playing for about 8 years Won a number of State and National titles International competitions include: Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled, Asia and South Pacific Boccia Championships, World Championships and World Cup Dean Nottle BC4 Lives near Sydney, Australia Has been playing just over 12 months 2012 State and National Open Titleholder No international experience to date

The initial draft to the Squad in June of this year consisted of 6 senior and 10 junior athletes. The program is aiming not just for Rio, but the two Paralympics that will follow. It is a 12-year program. Hence the strong focus on juniors. Two of the Squad’s senior athletes, Fiona Lyons and Dean Nottle discuss the program, themselves and the Australian Boccia scene in general. D: How did you find out about Boccia? F: I’d heard of the sport years before I started playing. I thought it was for old people. But I attended a Come & Try Day and found I was wrong. I really enjoyed it. And I discovered something I could do! D: That’s how I found out about it too. Most people find out at Come & Try Days. F: Well, there’s hardly anything about Boccia in the media. Not even when major

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tournaments are on. D: We didn’t seem to get any coverage at all down here in Australia of the London Paralympic Boccia. F: That’s probably because there weren’t any Australians involved. D: I’ve heard there wasn’t much coverage in Britain either. It’s a sport that needs to lift its profile all around the world. F: How long have you been playing? D: Not long, only since July, last year. I’m not like you. You’ve been playing forever. F: Not quite, Dean, more like eight years. I started playing every week at club level and loved it. After winning the State and National titles (in Australia), my Boccia playing took a more serious turn.


Fiona Lyons Dean Nottle DEAN NOTTLE AND FIONA LYONS: Words of Australian Paralympic Potentials

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D: In what way? F: When I was selected to represent Australia at the Far East and South Pacific Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 I realised that I could be competitive at an international level.

F: There are some strong nations in our region – Korea, China, Japan…

D: I won the major titles too. And now I find myself in Australia’s national squad along with you.

D: And Thailand. They went really well in London

F: Things have definitely changed for?

F: Let’s hope you’re up to the challenge.

D: Don’t get me wrong, Boccia’s still a great social activity for me, but it’s turned into a training and lifestyle program that’s taken over my life. My job really. It’s very demanding, but it’s also fantastically rewarding.

D: I reckon if you’re fit, organised, and prepared to go with the flow, you’re well on the way. Sometimes it’s good to be taken out of your comfort zone. Oh, and you have to be able to play well too!

F: You haven’t been overseas yet, have you Dean? D: Only as a tourist! You’ve played Boccia all over the world. F: Playing overseas will be a new challenge

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D: I’m hoping to make my first trip to the 2013 Asia and South Pacific Boccia Championships. We don’t know where they’ll be held yet.

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F: The APC (Australian Paralympic Committee) is totally committed to getting our best players on the court. We’re determined to qualify for Rio 2016. Our senior and junior PPP (Paralympic Preparation Program) squad members are expected to train hard; but we have to balance training and fitness work with

the rest of our lives, so we don’t burn out. Athletes have to report their training routine daily to the national coaches, as well as telling them about general wellness and diet. D: Because of Australia’s huge size, we can’t meet our national coaches face to face very often. Daily online reporting is a terrific way to keep in touch and for coaches to check that our training’s on track. F: The commitment to training is the athlete’s responsibility. The APC is responsible for organising our training camps, our ongoing training schedule, funding, and travel. We have to be able to manage long distance travel and time changes. For instance, when traveling to the northern hemisphere we have a long stopover, so that everyone gets to have a shower and a few hours rest before hopping back on a plane refreshed. That’s when I put my eye mask on and sleep right through – I’m the envy of everyone! Only wake up for food!


D: I’ve heard about your reputation as a good sleeper. You like to have a little snooze in the call room before going on court too? F: Hardly. But I do like a bit of peace and quiet in the call room. Unlike you, who never seems to be able to keep quiet for a minute. D: Hah hah! Always with the jokes.

F: Or against one another. D: And the game itself is so strategic. It’s fascinating. I read a Twitter comment from someone watching Boccia for the first time from the stands during the London Paralympics. She said, ‘I don’t have a clue what’s going on, but it’s riveting!’ You don’t have to know much about the game to enjoy watching it. But if you want to go into it further, there’s so much more.

F: That’s me. D: You know, that’s one of the things I love about the sport. It’s the people: the fun and the camaraderie. There are some fantastic people involved with Boccia. Players, coaches, officials, supporters - it’s like one big family. F: That’s for sure. And the game itself is pretty good. D: There aren’t many sports where male and female, older and younger, with a huge range of physical abilities, are able to compete on the same team.

F: Yes, it can be very entertaining; but, on the court, it’s pretty serious.

ABOVE LEFT: Australian National Coach, Peter King, giving a briefing to the Paralympic Preparation Program Squad during a training camp earlier this year. ABOVE RIGHT: Dean Nottle giving fellow Paralympic Preparation Program Squad member, Mecenzi Howard, a practise match during a training camp in July of of this year. Mecenzi was crowned NSW State Junior BC1 titleholder in October.

D: Well, you’re out there on your own. F: Living with Cerebal Palsy I need a carer’s help with many day-to-day tasks and even to get to training. But when I’m on the court, it’s up to me to try my hardest – no-one can do it for me. I love that it’s something I can do on my own; whether I the shot’s good or bad, it’s ‘my’ shot. D: On the court you’re in charge of your own destiny. You’re entirely responsible

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for what you do and how you go about it. It’s a great feeling. What advice would you give to players who are just starting out in Boccia? F: Enjoy the sport. Sport is about having fun. Sure, there has to be a winner and a loser, and I’m definitely not saying it doesn’t suck when you do lose, but don’t give up – you won’t always play the perfect shot. If you listen to and watch your peers play – D: – and the most important person, your coach – F: – you’ll learn strategies and improve your skills. But you’ll learn most of all by playing the game.

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many different floor surfaces as you can. I train most days of the week either in a team or at our club. I train at four different venues. I also do a gym program, Pilates and fit ball workouts and have regular massage. D: Diet’s very important too. F: I try to eat sensibly and drink lots of water. Since starting to train harder I’ve found I’m stronger and quicker at transferring and feel stronger in myself. D: But it doesn’t matter how hard you train, you must make sure you have plenty of quality time outside of Boccia?

D: And if you find yourself involved at the elite level?

F: Definitely. For me it’s family, movies, music, hanging with friends and reading. I love reading, it’s how I wind down at night.

F: Train as often as possible and on as

D: I have a competitive nature, so

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competing at a high level seems a natural ambition to me. As a BC4, I find the Brazilians are the ones I need to be aiming for. And it’d be awesome to win an Ashes series against the Brits! F: My ambition is to play as well as I possibly can. Have you learnt from any players in particular? D: I’m a bit like a magpie when it comes to Boccia – I pick up what I can, wherever I can. I’ve tried to learn from watching some of the better players – teammates, elite players from video clips, and even from you, Fions! I also owe a huge amount to some terrific coaches who I’ve been lucky enough to work with. F: And you’ll find role models and mentors. Great Britain’s Nigel Murray has been a huge inspiration to me. I watched him play


at the Beijing Paralympics where he won the silver medal and had the pleasure of meeting him in Belfast at the World Cup. Nigel is a great player, yet he still has time to talk to ‘new’ players coming through the ranks.

LEFT: The entire Australian Paralympic Preparation Program Squad

D: I heard he’s announced his retirement from international competition. Let’s hope he’ll stay around the sport for a long time to come. Competing gets pretty serious at the highest level, doesn’t it? The NSW State Junior Titles were held in October. Eight of the nine medals presented went to PPP Squad members. National Coach Peter King said that this indicates that the training program is on track and the athletes chosen are well equipped to meet the challenges ahead. Authors: Fiona Lyons & Dean Nottle

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Final Words It is my hope that this issue has been as interesting and insightful as the first to read through. I very much appreciated all the wonderful comments about the magazine and they motivate me to continue delivering Boccia-related feature. Thank you for your support. A special thank you has to go to all my article authors and interviewee whom got involved; simply put, without them Boccia Inclusive would not exist. So thank you to: Emma Harris Stephen Jones Fiona Lyons Lee Maddison Liz Moulam Dean Nottle Nigel Murray Sam Oldknow Also, thanks must be given to the photographers and photographees whom have kindly let us use their imagery: Trevor Barnes Boccia England DEMAND Evie Edwards Sue Edwards GB Boccia Team Peter King Beth Moulam Liz Moulam Jon Oldknow Harry Thompson Michelle Thompson As an exciting year for everyone in the World of Boccia draws to a close, Boccia Inclusive would like to wish everyone the best for 2012. Thank you for reading, David If you haven’t already please like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BocciaInclusive

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Boccia Inclusive Issue #2