THE 2011 Boccia World Cup, held at the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus, has been hailed the most successful ever by organisers of the sport.
The event, organised by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), attracted more than 500 athletes, coaches and officials from 33 countries.
Korea won the overall World Cup trophy, having emerged as the most successful nation in the Paralympics qualifying event. They picked up four individual medals as well as a team gold medal.
Reflecting on the competition, David Hadfield, Chairman of the Great Britain Boccia Federation commented: “The 2011 Boccia World Cup has been the most successful ever; I have been delighted by the welcome given to the competitors and spectators by the Borough of Newtownabbey and the City of Belfast.”
Boccia, a target-ball sport similar to bowls, is designed for people with a high level of disability. It can be played as an individual, in pairs or as a three-a-side team.
The World Cup was organised by the University of Ulster, Disability Sports NI and GB Boccia. The competition was funded by UK Sport, Sport Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Newtownabbey Borough Council as well as Disability Needs NI and Deloitte.
University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett, said: “This wonderful event will leave a lasting legacy for sport for those with disabilities by serving as a catalyst for the development of the sport in Northern Ireland and the involvement of people of all abilities in sport.”
Angela Hendra, chairperson of Disability Sports NI, added: “The CPISRA Boccia World Cup has been a fantastic sporting spectacle. This is the first time that the event has been held anywhere in the British Isles, and with 500 athletes and coaches from 33 countries participating in the event, it is the largest international disability sports competition ever held in Northern Ireland.
“We are pleased that the event will leave a genuine sporting legacy for Northern Ireland. Immediately after the Boccia World Cup, we have plans to launch four new regional Boccia development squads, each supported by qualified Boccia leaders and coaches, and each equipped with the international standard ‘Taraflex’ Boccia courts purchased for the Boccia World Cup.
“The legacy of the CPISRA Boccia World Cup, will then be to enable Disability Sports NI to provide talented young people with disabilities the opportunity to train, compete and excel in the sport of Boccia in years to come.”
Newtownabbey Mayor Billy Webb hosted a special reception at Mossley Mill last week for athletes and officials taking part in the Boccia World Cup.
“I am proud of the level of sport and business involvement in the Boccia World Cup. I am also encouraged by the new platform any sport provides for Newtownabbey to showcase its expertise to the world and the new opportunities this will generate,” he commented.
Newtownabbey Borough Council contributed funding of approximately £20,000 towards the staging of the tournament at UUJ.