Jasper Maccall writes about the sport of boccia, a competitive Paralympic sport, and the importance that it holds in his life.
The objective of the game is to get your coloured balls closest to the Jack – a white ball that is placed onto the court.
Matches are typically played on badminton court. Players throw the Jack anywhere on the court, then teams take it in turns to throw their balls, with the player that threw the Jack going first.
Boccia England is the governing body in England. It runs all the competitions and training camps across the country.
Recently, it was announced that the body has been awarded £1.5 million by Sport England over the next four years
In the Rio paralympic team Great Britain’s David Smith got a gold medal and was later awarded an MBE for his success.
In boccia, there are different classifications depending your disability. BC1 is for athletes with cerebral palsy; BC2 is also for cerebral palsy but these athletes tend to have a milder form of the illness. Both BC1 and BC2 players throw the balls.
There are two other categories. BC3 includes a range of disability which effects all four limbs – these athletes use ramps as they are physically unable to throw a ball; finally, BC4 is for disabilities which affect all four limbs.
I fit into the BC2 category, and play the sport competitively.
I train two times a week and complete in competitions at a national standard.
I came across the sport when I was 11 years old, whilst I was at secondary school. I immediately fell in love with the game and have been hooked on the sport ever since.
To me, one of the best aspects of the sport is that it is so much more than that; it is a social event, and I have great camaraderie with my teammates, because we always have such a great laugh in training, whilst also improving ourselves.
Boccia gave us something to really focus on in life, as well as rival one another in.
The sport has given everyone in the team this dream about going to the paralympics together.
My goal for this season is relatively simple. I want to get to the national final, which means that we have to win a regional event; in time, I would absolutely love to be selected for the England squad.
It would mean the world to me because I have worked on hard on the sport.
If you would like to know more about the game of boccia, you can visit bocciaengland.org.uk