Hackney children bowled over by Boccia

School children in Hackney were bowled over when they had the opportunity to take part in a day-long tournament of the Paralympic sport Boccia, which is similar to Boules.

The lucky group of 80 children from six primary schools were joined by Paralympic athlete Ian Rose, who umpired some games, gave words of encouragement and handed out awards.

Ian, who won a silver medal for judo at the Athens 2004 Games, said: “I came away from the event inspired because the children taking part really enjoyed themselves and gave it their all. They took real pride in representing their schools and being the best they could be. It’s not about ability or disability, it’s about setting your own goals and achieving them.”

The competition was organised by community organisation East End SportsAbility, with support from Hackney’s School Sport Partnership, Hackney Council and the Big Lottery Fund.

The final of the tournament was between Jubilee and Millfields Community primary schools, with Jubilee taking the top spot. The other schools which took part were St John the Baptist Church of England, Whitmore, Nightingale and Tyssen.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “One of Hackney Council’s key priorities as a host for the 2012 Games is to ensure that, working in partnership, young people of all abilities in our borough are given the opportunity to become involved in sports and physical activity.

“The Boccia tournament is a great example of how young people can learn new skills, compete and have fun together.”