Pupils from schools across the county tested their skills in a sports tournament with a difference – competing in the Paralympic sport of boccia on 7th December.
Hosted by Cambridge Regional College, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Lord Taverners Under 19 County tournament attracted teams from six schools with three teams – Impington Village College 2, Gretton A and Hinchingbrooke 1 going on to next year’s regional competition.
CRC students training to be sports leaders and higher sports leaders were given specialist training in officiating and coaching boccia by Boccia England in the run up to the competition, taking a central role in managing and officiating the event.
The fast-growing sport, which is similar to bowls with players competing sitting down, offers physically disabled youngsters the chance to compete all the way up to international level.
Thirteen teams from six schools took part in the competition – Impington Village College, Hinchingbrooke School, Ernulf Academy in St Neots, Gretton School in Girton, Granta School, Linton, and Phoenix School in Peterborough.
Watching the tournament, organised by Living Sport, was Marc Scott from Boccia England, who was on a talent-spotting visit to find the stars of the future.
Marc said he was looking for players with the ability to understand the game and communicate effectively with their team-mates.
“I am looking for a tactical understanding of the game and for someone who is capable of taking it further. We have players who started at county level who are in the England squad and possibly going on to the Paralympics,” he said.
“I’m also looking for outstanding CRC students to officiate at the regional competition.”
Organiser Rebecca Evans from Living Sport said the students had done a great job of helping the event run smoothly.
“This is the third year we have held the Cambridgeshire tournament at Cambridge Regional College and the students have been wonderful – without their help the tournament just wouldn’t happen,” she said.
Boccia England and Living Sport are encouraging more schools to get involved in the sport, which allows someone with the most severe physical problems to play at the highest level – and puts them on a level playing field with their able-bodied fellow students.
Sarah Allen, student liaison and enrichment co-ordinator at CRC, said boccia was a fun sport for everyone.
“We play boccia in college, and our sport students often play alongside our foundation learning students – it’s an accessible sport which is great for everyone,” she said.
The CRC student officials were trained by Paul Ashbridge from Boccia England, who said:
WINNERS Hinchingbrooke School 1 won the Physical Disability Tournament while the winners of the Pan Disability Tournament were Impington Village College 2