Hackney children battle it out at Boccia final

Primary school children in Hackney battled it out during a day-long tournament of the Paralympic sport Boccia, which is similar to Boules.

The group of 70 pupils from five primary schools were joined by local Paralympic swimmer Dervis Konuralp, who umpired some games, gave words of encouragement and handed out awards.

Dervis, who is Hackney’s Olympic and Paralympic Ambassador and competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, said: “The children really got into the spirit of the day and I was proud to be able to encourage them to try their best. Sport is so accessible and I hope the 2012 Games can inspire people of all ages and abilities to try a new activity.”

The competition took place at SPACe sports centre, Hackney Community College, and was organised by community organisation East End SportsAbility, with support from Hackney Council’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Unit.

Children from Jubilee, St John the Baptist Church of England, Whitmore, Nightingale and Millfields primary schools took part following coaching sessions at their schools over the past four months.

The final of the tournament was between two teams from Jubilee primary school, with Jubilee team A taking the top spot.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “This was a great chance for disabled and non disabled children to get together and have fun competing in an inclusive Paralympic sport they have been practising at school.”