Ballyclare woman invites people to have a go at boccia

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr John Scott, pictured with boccia players at the Sixmile Leisure Centre. INNT 26-804CON
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr John Scott, pictured with boccia players at the Sixmile Leisure Centre. INNT 26-804CON

A local woman who represents Ulster at the game of boccia is calling on people to come and join her newly formed club in Ballyclare.

Caroline Millar, who has been playing boccia for three years, started the club recently at the Sixmile Leisure Centre in the town.

Boccia is specifically designed for athletes with a disability affecting loco-motor function, such as cerebal palsy. It is played in an area similar in size to a badminton court, with players aiming to propel a set of coloured balls and position them closer to a white jack ball than those of their opponent, on a similar basis to bowls. All players compete from a seated position, with players being able to throw, roll or kick balls into the playing area. A ramp can be used by players who are unable to throw or kick the ball. Balls can be released down the ramp by hand or with the use of a head pointer. This means the sport is inclusive for players with a high level of disability. It’s open to everyone regardless of age or ability.

Caroline said: “To maintain my place in the Ulster squad I must train four hours per week. The idea for the club came about by chance. I discovered there was a lot of local interest as there’s nothing really in the area for people with neuorological conditions to play. The club will meet every other Wednesday at the Sixmile Leisure Centre from 6pm to 7pm.”

A league runs from October until March on a monthly basis in various locations in NI. Training for the new season will commence on September 7. As the club has recently formed, donations for equipment would be greatly appreciated. For more information or to make a donation, contact Odhran Doherty at Disability Sports NI on 02890469925.