Boccia opens the 2024 ParaGames season for London Youth Games

6th Mar 2024
Yolanda Martin
1 light skinned male, 1 brown skinned female wearing hijab and 1 black male in wheelchair playing boccia

London Youth Games was delighted to welcome over two-hundred young disabled athletes to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the opening event of the 2024 ParaGames season with Boccia on 28 February 2024. Ensuring sport is a fundamental right for all is a core objective for the charity. Experiencing the young people competing against their peers and showcasing their abilities in the iconic Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre was fantastic.


Twenty borough teams took part in the event, providing an opportunity for the young athletes to put their skills into practice, demonstrate their teamwork and represent their boroughs with pride. We must recognise the incredible effort from Borough Team Managers and School staff who make it possible for the young people to attend these events.


Many will recognise the transformative power of sport and the positive impact taking part can have for our young people. For many participants, the London Youth Games provides a platform to connect with others, combat feelings of isolation, and fosters a sense of pride in their achievements.

Research shows 91 per cent of disabled children are socially isolated, according to Disabled Children’s Partnership. Impacting on these young people through a positive outlet gives these participants a chance to boost their mental wellbeing.

Scarlett, a participant from Havering, shared her experience, highlighting the importance of support and teamwork in overcoming challenges: “I like the London Youth Games because it brings all special education people together from different schools and helps people work as a team. I’m autistic and I have ADHD and I like boccia because it helps my coordination and it’s really fun.”

Hamza, representing Newham, spoke the sense of accomplishment that comes from participating in sports: “I like playing sport at London Youth Games, it feels like a dream to come as far as we did.”

For Connie, a participant from Bexley, winning the competition was not just about victory but also about representation and pride: “I like London Youth Games because it means that I get to be represented in my disability and get to feel proud of it. I have Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which very few people know about. We’re a real team, we’ve all been congratulating each other and pushing each other on, and it’s been a great team achievement.”

The ParaGames Boccia event not only showcased the skills of the participants, but also serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of sports on disabled young people and those with impairments. Through London Youth Games, barriers are broken, stereotypes are challenged, and we build a more inclusive and supportive society, one game at a time.

Many thanks to all the boroughs for their dedication in bringing their teams to the event. Congratulations to everyone involved and a special well done to Bexley (Gold), Newham (Silver) and Hackney and Tower Hamlets (Joint Bronze).