Para sports to get 3,000 young people with impairments active

23rd Feb 2023
Yolanda Martin
6 boccia players pose with their medals, their teachers and the Boccia staff

A new season of para-sport events gives 3,000 young Londoners with impairments the chance to compete in inclusive activities. Boccia, held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 21st and 23rd February 2023, offers life-enhancing sports events to children with impairments, to improve the lives of many young people.

When the cost of living is rising ever higher, and as families are having to cut down on essentials like food and heating, there is little room extra for activities which improve a young person’s quality of life. Boccia, run by London Youth Games, gives young people access to leisure activities, the opportunity to spend time with others and to boost their mental wellbeing

London Youth Games strongly believes that sport is a right for all. Covering 13 sports from boccia to wheelchair tennis to sitting volleyball, the ParaGames programme gives disabled people aged under 18 the chance to take part in competitive sport.

Players with severe learning disabilities, physical impairments, profound and multiple impairments, such as wheelchair users are welcomed to take part in the ParaGames events. London Youth Games is passionate about helping more young disabled Londoners to feel the benefits of being active.

Mr. Coker, Hillingdon Team Manager, said: “One of our participants has no sight at all so this competition has been amazing for her, especially competing for a chance to win a medal. Without this competition, she wouldn’t have a chance like that so it’s really amazing.”

Zoya Atanassova, Barnet Team Manager said: “We have a girl on the team with a visual impairment so we use a bell and a light to help her in the right direction. It’s a very special opportunity and day for her because she hasn’t attended tournaments before. She’s had an amazing experience.”

Sonny, Barking and Dagenham Boccia athlete, said: “I like boccia because it’s really fun when you work together and it doesn’t matter if you win or not. It matters that you tried.”

Debbie Houghton, Newham Team Manager, said: “We have two children taking part in boccia who have autism and it’s great. This event is so great for giving them social skills, team work and turn taking. It gives them all the skills they’re going to need in life.”