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Wannabe Paralympians offered chance to go for gold – by trying out the sport of 'boccia'

By Alasdair Fraser

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Highlife Highland is offering a try-out of the Paralympic sport Boccia
Highlife Highland is offering a try-out of the Paralympic sport Boccia

Members of the public can test their skill with a Paralympic sport on Monday at Inverness Leisure Centre.

Those attending the High Life Highland (HLH) facility can try their hand at boccia – pronounced bot-cha – which is similar to bowls.

The event has no Olympic equivalent and sees players propel a boccia ball by rolling, throwing or kicking it towards a target jack ball. The player with their ball closest to the jack wins.

Aimed primarily at those with a disability, able-bodied friends and family attending on the day can join in too.

HLH’s disability sports officer Fiona Green said: “Boccia was originally designed for people with cerebral palsy but it’s now played by people with a wide range of disabilities.

“It was first introduced to the Paralympics in 1984 and now over 50 countries play the game, making it the fastest growing disability sport in the world.

“We’re welcoming existing players or those who have never played before to give it a go, and if it proves popular, we’re hoping we can hold regular boccia sessions in the future.”

HLH disability sport development officer Charlie Forbes added: “The game is designed so that athletes in a wheelchair launch the ball however they choose.

“It can be rolled down a ramp, thrown or kicked or if a player isn’t able to throw it with their hands, they can use assistive devices such as a head pointer.

“It sounds simple enough, but this is a game of precision and tactics, testing a person’s muscle control and accuracy.”

The event will be held in the main sports hall at Inverness Leisure Centre on Bught Lane between 4.15pm and 5.45pm.

It is being staged as part of celebrations ahead of National Boccia Day, an annual celebration and awareness raising day for the sport on September 27.

Those wishing to book a boccia trial should email charlie.forbes@highlifehighland.com or fiona.green@highlifehighland.com

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