Cheshire International Boccia Championships Robin Park Arena, Wigan
Great Britain’s Boccia team made a clean sweep of the trophies at the Cheshire International Boccia Championships at the weekend, taking first place in the three divisions of play at the event.
This event is a significant one in the international calendar and this year even more so, as part of the build-up to the London Paralympics. 12 international teams competed across 3 divisions of play: BC1/2 team; BC3 pairs and BC 4 pairs at Wigan’s Robin Park.
Teams travelled from all over Europe, and from Argentina and Canada, to attend. And in addition to the teams of England, Scotland and Wales, the Great Britain Paralympic squad took the opportunity to field a very strong line-up.
Organisers say that the competition was intense, with some very high quality performances as nations sent their Paralympic players. After the pool matches it soon became clear that GB would do well in all groups, but faced a stiff challenge from Canada in the BC4 pairs. And so it proved, with the two teams meeting in the semi-final, taken by GB after a tie break. GB then faced Scotland in the final and in another close game ran out winners 3-2.
In the BC1/2 event, GB ran out comfortable winners, beating Ireland 7-1 in the final, after a tough semi against Argentina.
In the BC3 pairs event GB maintained a consistently strong performance throughout the weekend and beat Belgium convincingly in the final, 9-0.
Event organiser Brian Allen said:
“I was delighted that the event went smoothly. It was pleasing that so many countries were involved and felt it worthwhile to attend. It’s now firmly established on the world Boccia calendar and I look forward to seeing more countries next year.”
The event, run by Boccia England, was held at Robin Park in Wigan, on 22/23 June. Now in its fifth year, the event is sponsored by the Cheshire Building Society, part of the Nationwide group, and supported by Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.
Cllr Chris Ready, Wigan Council’s cabinet lead for leisure, presented several of the trophies.
He said: “Wigan is proud to be a part of this amazing event. We have been host to the championships for several years now and I want to welcome and thank visiting athletes from across the world for their sportsmanship, skill and sense of fun again this year.”
Teams attending came from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Slovak Republic, Sweden and Wales.