Turk crowned English boccia queen

Cecilia Turk with her father Mervyn
Cecilia Turk with her father Mervyn
Pompey centre-back Matt Clarke is destined for bigger things. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Cecilia Turk has been crowned national boccia champion.

But the Waterlooville boccia queen’s hopes of making it to this summer’s Paralympics look to have been controversially dashed.

Turk showed all her class to storm to success against the cream of her England rivals at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

The 29-year-old came through BC3 pool in emphatic fashion and then blazed a trail to the final.

That march included overcoming Jess Hunter – the woman chosen for Team GB in place of Turk for the Games later this year – at the semi-final stage.

Turk, who has cerebral palsy, then defeated rising-star Tom Dowan in dramatic style to confirm her overall victory.

Their battle went to the final ball but the University of Portsmouth student delivered her win in nail-biting and brilliant manner.

The execution of her shot saw the ball land on top of all other scoring balls and paved the way for her win. Proud mother Cassandra spoke of her pride at Turk’s success and admitted it came in emotional fashion.

She said: ‘It was a tear-jerking moment for Cecilia when she lifted the gold medal, which is adorned with the Olympic torch and laurel leaves.

‘The final was between her and Tom Dowan, a rising star of Team England, who is destined for greater things. It was another highly-intensive match.

‘Cecilia executed the last ball and it rolled with speed, hit the head and landed on top of all the scoring balls.

‘People gasped and some said: “How on earth did she do that?”.

‘It’s a rarity in the game but magical when it comes to fruition.

‘It proves to one and all that she is a force to be reckoned with.’

Turk may not have made the main GB squad for the Paralympics but there is still some hope the multi The News Sports Awards title winner could be called upon as the team’s first-reserve.

She is continuing to train as intensely as ever to ensure she is ready if called upon.

Cassandra added: ‘She has been denied her aspiration of competing in front of her home nation.

‘But she is still part of the Paralympic team as first reserve, trains monthly with Team GB and can be seen training most days at the Nuffield Sports Centre.

‘The closing date for selection is August 6, so it’s not over yet.’