With the sun shining down on a playground full of children wearing brightly coloured bibs, Wilstead Lower School was a vibrant and noisy place to be on Tuesday. The reason for the noise and colour was the Boccia tournament (pronounced ‘Bot-cha’) taking place in the front playground. Thanks to the Bedford Borough School Sport Partnership and a group of young sports leaders from Bedford Academy our KS2 children have learned a new sport and taken part in their first tournament, but what is Boccia?
Well, according The Great Britain Boccia Federation (GB Boccia), Boccia is a target ball sport similar in principle to bowls but is played indoors with soft leather balls. It is a sport of intriguing tactics, incredible skill and nail biting tension. Originally invented specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function, Boccia is totally inclusive and can be played by anyone regardless of age, gender, ability or disability. Players throw (or kick or use a ramp to propel) a ball onto the court with the aim of getting closest to a ‘jack’ ball. It is played indoors on a court similar in size to a badminton court but can be played on any smooth surface. It is a game of skill and subtlety. Physical strength is not key to playing Boccia, accuracy and strategy are more important.
So, now we know what it is, how did we get on?
Our Beetles and Hornets class were split up into teams of 3 and paired off ready for the heat stage games. Competition was keen from the outset with everyone quickly getting into the spirit of things. There was lots of cheering and encouragement no matter whose turn it was – the noise was wonderful!
Then came the semi-finals and finals. Whilst these were taking place the other teams were taking part in the play-offs. It was clear that all that practice had paid-off, the games were really close with some amazing shots from all the teams and yes, the noise was exciting.
And the winners were……EVERYONE!
The day finished with the awarding of certificates for sportsmanship, determination, perseverance and of course the overall winning team all the time being cheered and applauded by the players and staff. That noise was the best of all.