Category Archives: Asia Pacific

Paralympics: No medals, but Boccia players Nurul and Toh surpass expectations

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Via Straitstimes.com

SINGAPORE – A handful of fans were at Changi Airport to welcome Boccia players Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha and Toh Sze Ning back home from the Rio Paralympic Games on Tuesday (Sept 20) afternoon.

The duo might have returned home empty-handed from Rio, but the crowd support they had received in Brazil left the biggest impression on them.

Their eyes lit up with excitement when they recalled how they were cheered on by boisterous crowds who did Mexican waves at the Carioca Arena, the Boccia competition venue.

Nurul, who also took part in the 2012 London Paralympics, said: “I felt like I was at the (football) World Cup. The spectators were so loud and expressive when they cheered. I’ve never experienced that kind of atmosphere before.”

Toh, 23, who was making her Paralympics debut, said: “It felt like a soccer match. The crowd made it very exciting.”

The pair were greeted at the arrival hall by their family members and sports officials, including Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin.

Nurul and Toh earned the Republic’s best result in the sport at the Paralympics when they made it to the BC3 mixed-pairs bronze medal playoffs, following upsets over higher-ranked opponents Portugal and Greece.

But they eventually lost 1-8 to Greece to narrowly miss out on winning Singapore’s first Paralympic medal in the sport.

The team’s coach Tess Tan noted: “Greece were really on form on that day. They brought their A+ game and we didn’t bring our A game. But overall, we are quite satisfied with our results as we met the goal which we had set out to achieve.”

Nurul, 31, said: “We are sad, of course, but we have surpassed people’s expectations. We also felt surprised and a bit overwhelmed when we beat the higher-ranked teams, which sent a message to other teams that we can win if we put in 100 per cent of our efforts.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved and we have no regrets knowing that we are now the fourth best team in the world.”

Toh said: “I felt disappointed because we came so close yet so far (to winning a medal). But I am glad that we finished in the top four.”

It appears that missing out on a medal has made them even hungrier to go one step further at the Games’ next edition.

Even though Nurul will return back to her job as an auditor after taking a two-year, no-pay leave to prepare for Rio, she is already eyeing a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

She joked: “So this means that I cannot retire yet right? The work is not finished yet. I will be back for Tokyo. For me, I’ve always planned in blocks of four years before the next cycle continues. We need to plan now for the next four years.

“This Paralympics is not the end. We are now ranked fourth and it is another step in our progress.”

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Making Boccia Accessible event success in Dubai

downloadVia Inside the games

Seven Asian countries were represented at a “Making Boccia Accessible” event in Dubai.

The scheme, supported by world governing body the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed), the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, UK Sport, GB Boccia and law firm Hogan Lovells, aims to train “ambassadors” in the sport across the world.

Once trained, the ambassadors will return to their home countries to help spread the sport and encourage more people to play boccia.

It is hoped that up to 10,000 new boccia players can be introduced into the sport, with 400 boccia sets circulated as part of the project.

Andrinne Craig and Darren Thomson were selected by Scottish Disability Sport to represent BISFed in Dubai, following sessions in Africa and South America.

Representatives from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan, Mongolia and host country the United Arab Emirates were in attendance.

BISFed President David Hadfield was also present for parts of the course.
The Mongolian representatives said they had not touched a boccia ball before arriving in Dubai.

“We were looking for opportunities for children with cerebral palsy and love that boccia is so inclusive,” said a representative from Sri Lanka.

“We will create a boccia group and forum and train ambassadors from each district who can begin to deliver boccia to children in those areas.

“There are three CP special schools with 110 plus pupils and now they have a sport to play.

“We want to create happiness and the opportunity for children to play sport through boccia.”

Via Inside the games

Topeka’s 24-time national boccia champ mulling future

There comes a time in every competitive athlete’s career when a decision has to be made on when to call it quits, hang up the gear and move on to other passions.

For boccia aficionado Austin Hanson, that decision could be coming soon.

Hanson, currently participating in the Americas Cup just about an hour southeast of Topeka in Gardner, has spent the better portion of his adult life playing boccia.

But at age 39, and after more than 20 years in the sport, the expenses of traveling both nationally and internationally have become a factor for the Topekan in his decision on whether to continue with boccia.

Hanson has competed in Argentina, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Greece, England, Ireland and Portugal, among other places.

via Topeka’s 24-time national boccia champ mulling future | CJOnline.com.

Australian World Dwarf Games team boosts numbers for double medal effort

Coppolino, who lives in Essendon, was not one of those to collect a medal in her sport of boccia – an adaption of the well-known bocce – last time, but will be going for gold this year.

Standing just 121cm, she said she had not looked back since taking up boccia four years ago and had even joined the Boccia Victoria committee to help further develop the sport.

“It’s the kind of sport that anyone can play,” Coppolino said. “It’s had a great influence on just about everything I do.”

While you are unlikely to see any footage of slam-dunks from the World Dwarf Games, Coppolino said that surprisingly there was little adaption made for short-statured people.

via Australian World Dwarf Games team boosts numbers for double medal effort in August | Leader Newspapers Central Melbourne 

Striujck’s selection push

Talented Wanganui boccia player Diederik Striujck will use the upcoming Lower North Island Championships in Wellington as a springboard to higher honours.

Hosted by Parafed Wellington, at the ASB Sports Stadium Kilbirnie, on April 20-21, the event is designed to allow Paralympians and promising players to hone their skills in what is the first sanctioned tournament of the year.

Striujck is currently honing his skills to gain valuable ranking points from this tournament as he looks to push for selection for the national team. Although having only played the game for just over a year, Striujck has shown he has the potential and skills to succeed after coming 11th at last year’s New Zealand National Championships in Christchurch.

via Striujck’s selection push | Wanganui Chronicle.

Sydney to host 2013 Asia Oceania Boccia Championships

Sydney has been named as the host the 2013 Asia Oceania Boccia Championships this October.

The competition will take place at the Sydney Olympic Park (pictured top) from October 18 until 26 while it will be delivered by the newly created Boccia International Sports Federation and Boccia Australia.

The event marks the first international boccia event staged in Australia since the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

The announcement is also a boost for boccia in Australia, which has experienced a greater focus on improving the development pathway for players and coaches since the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) Boccia programme was revamped following the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.

via Sydney to host 2013 Asia Oceania Boccia Championships – insidethegames.biz – Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games News.

Paralympians win gold and hearts

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Pattaya Tadtong, Witsanu Huadpradit, Watcharaphon Vongsa and Mongkol Jitsa-Ngiem won a gold medal in the mixed team of the boccia BC1-2 final when they beat China 10-5 at the ExCel Arena in London in September.

The four wowed the audiences with their performances and were welcomed back as heroes when they returned to Thailand later that month.

Each gold medallist received a six million baht award from the government.

Boccia became a Paralympics sport in 1984 and Thailand has sent a boccia team to compete several times.

Boccia is played by athletes suffering from cerebral palsy, or other conditions affecting motor skills.

All events are mixed gender and include singles, doubles and team matches.

The game has relatively simple rules. An athlete has three balls to throw at a white target ball.

The one who can place the ball closest to the target ball will score a point.

Inspired by the success of the Thai boccia team, state and non-government agencies working on promoting the rights of the disabled came out to pledge support for disabled sports.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra lauded the athletes for making their country proud and vowed to provide more support for disabled athletes who want to attend the Paralympics Games.

via Paralympians win gold and hearts | Bangkok Post: news.

Disabled children playing boccia thanks to Operation Santa Claus

Like many children, these youngsters have a favourite ball game.

But they do not run around. Some do not even touch the ball directly. Still, they are good at their sport and taking part brings satisfaction and confidence.

These children with physical limitations are playing boccia, a Portuguese game related to boules and bowls, except that the players sit in wheelchairs.

Billy Lam Kei-yau, 18, has been playing for eight years. His cerebral palsy makes it too hard to throw a ball with his hand.

Instead, from his wheelchair, he pushes the ball down a ramp with a pointer extending from his helmet – aiming to hit a white ball several feet away. The aim of the game is to get your ball as close as possible to the white one.

“I like playing boccia because I was able to master the skill easily,” Lam said. He attends two practice sessions a week and has represented his school, Hong Kong Red Cross Princess Alexandra School, in competitions.

The school for disabled children bought two new boccia sets in April with last year’s donation from Operation Santa Claus (OSC), the annual fundraising campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

via Disabled children playing boccia thanks to Operation Santa Claus | South China Morning Post.

Triumph over disability in Fiji

Yesterday also marked the International Day of People with Disability and FPC senior sports development officer Saimoni Nainoca said this was the first time ever that people from all over the country could attend the event.The three sports played yesterday were Boccia pronounced botch-ya, a target game with similar rules to bocce or lawn bowls; goalball, a three-a-side indoor court game developed for players who have visual impairments and sitting volleyball, an alternative version to traditional standing volleyball using a smaller court and lower net.

via Triumph over disability – Fiji Times Online.

Disabled children playing boccia thanks to Operation Santa Claus

Billy Lam Kei-yau, 18, has been playing for eight years. His cerebral palsy makes it too hard to throw a ball with his hand.

Instead, from his wheelchair, he pushes the ball down a ramp with a pointer extending from his helmet – aiming to hit a white ball several feet away. The aim of the game is to get your ball as close as possible to the white one.

“I like playing boccia because I was able to master the skill easily,” Lam said. He attends two practice sessions a week and has represented his school, Hong Kong Red Cross Princess Alexandra School, in competitions.

via Disabled children playing boccia thanks to Operation Santa Claus | South China Morning Post.