Month: April 2017

Boccia UK wins bid to host the BISFed 2018 World Championships in Liverpool

The Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) has awarded the rights to host the 2018 World Championships to Boccia UK. The competition, which is the biggest and most prestigious on the international calendar outside the Paralympic Games, will be hosted at Exhibition Centre Liverpool from the 9th to 19th August 2018.

Boccia is a Paralympic sport with no Olympic equivalent. It is a target ball sport designed for athletes with impairments affecting all four limbs. Having watched the sport in London 2012, sportswriter Simon Barnes wrote “It’s the heart and soul of the Paralympic Games. Or of all sport. You haven’t seen sport until you’ve seen boccia.”

Following sold out crowds in London 2012 and Rio 2016 the sport continues to grow apace internationally and 192 athletes will travel to Liverpool in 2018 in their quest to become World Champion. A truly international sport, the medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games were shared between Europe, Asia and the Americas while more countries in Oceania and Africa are taking part in BISFed sanctioned competitions every year.

The organising committee aims to deliver the best World Championships the sport has seen. Hosted in Exhibition Centre Liverpool, an 8,100m2 venue on the banks of Liverpool’s world heritage waterfront with accommodation on site, the athlete experience will be second to none. Situated in Liverpool city centre, the event aims to attract thousands of spectators to create a memorable atmosphere and introduce people to a fascinating technical and tactical sport they might not have come across before.

John Dowson, Chair of Boccia UK, said:

“We are thrilled to be hosting the BISFed World Championships in Liverpool next year. This is the largest Boccia event on the international calendar in terms of athlete numbers and gives an excellent opportunity for innovation in showcasing the sport at a stunning location. We are extremely grateful to UK Sport and the National Lottery for their financial contribution through their Major Events Programme and to the City of Liverpool who will provide an unrivalled experience for both athletes and spectators”

David Hadfield, President of BISFed, said:

“I am very pleased that the BISFed 2018 World Championships will be hosted by Boccia UK in the wonderful city of Liverpool. Boccia is the fastest-growing Paralympic sport and we expect the competition to attract more countries and more athletes than ever to an international boccia event. I am looking forward to seeing an extraordinary demonstration of para sport in a very exciting and innovative setting.”

David Smith MBE, two-time Paralympic Gold medallist and Boccia UK athlete, said:

“I am so excited that the BISFed 2018 World Championships will be held in the UK. Performing in front of a home crowd in London 2012 was one of the finest moments of my career. I know the people of Liverpool are sports mad and I really hope they will take Boccia to their hearts to give my team mates and I a huge boost on the road to Tokyo. I hope that by creating the most interactive and entertaining Boccia competiton ever we will put Boccia firmly in the public consciousness and inspire the local and national disability community to get involved in the sport.”

Joe Anderson OBE, Mayor of Liverpool, said:

“This is fantastic news and a demonstration of Liverpool’s ability to secure and deliver major sporting events. Whether it’s athletics, netball, triathlons, gymnastics, boxing, running and now Boccia, Liverpool has proved itself time and again as the perfect host to showcase a wide range of sports. We take it extremely seriously and have world class venues matched with passionate fans, providing a unique welcome. Sport is in our DNA and we will work hard to bring an enthusiastic audience that will be fair, welcoming and supportive of all athletes and participating nations and showcase Boccia to the world.”

Tim Hollingsworth OBE, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, said:

“It is terrific news that Boccia UK will host the BISFed World Championships next year giving British crowds the opportunity to watch Boccia here in the UK. We have a proud tradition of success in Boccia at Paralympic level – this is built on outstanding performances at major championships, such as the Worlds, and I am sure that British athletes will be keen to perform once again in front of home support. The World Championships will also be a major part of the GB team’s preparations for Tokyo 2020 so it will be a good testing ground ahead of the Games.

“I congratulate the team at Boccia UK on all their hard work to win the right to host the Championships. I know they will put on a fantastic event and I look forward to attending next year.”

Michael Simpson and Martin Hunter

Fife Para Bowlers Excel in Club Championships

Michael Simpson from Auchtermuchty and Martin Hunter from Burntisland are relatively new to indoor bowls. In their efforts to appropriately prepare for the Home Nations Para Bowls competitions in Wales and England this year and the 2017 Test Match on the Gold Coast in preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, they joined East Fife Indoor Bowling Club at Aberhill. What a positive experience it has been for the Para Bowls medalists from the most recent IBD World Para Bowls Championships in New Zealand.

Paired together Martin and Michael won the Gents KO Pairs and they joined forces with Sandy McKenzie and Mick Connelly to win the KO Fours. What a brilliant first season with the East Fife Club and what excellent preparation for the challenges that lie ahead at International level for the leading Scottish B7 Para Bowlers.

Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife

Runners up for Scottish Para Bowlers

The Scottish Disability Sport Para Bowls team competed at the Home Nation Championships at the Newport Indoor Bowls Stadium in Wales from Friday 21st April to Sunday 23rd April.

Teams from England, Wales and Scotland competed in singles, pairs, triples and fours across the physically disabled and visually impaired sections, for the honour of being crowned Home Nations Champions. This was the first of two of these events in an extremely busy year, with the focus being Commonwealth Games 2018 qualification.

The Scottish programme is buoyed with talent at present and a team of twenty seven bowlers, directors and coaches were selected to compete and defend the trophy won in 2016 at Kelvingrove International Bowls Centre in Glasgow. Scotland traditionally excel in the outdoor environment, however indoor bowls is a completely different proposition, which has historically been England’s forte.

Indoor bowls has become the priority heading into the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games due to the lightening quick green speeds that will welcome our players in Australia. No outdoor surface in Scotland can replicate that environment and as a result Scotland’s indoor play has improved dramatically.

The format of the event dictated that each match was worth two points, with 48 being available across the weekend. Scotland’s target was 32 – enough to win the competition – but in the end we had to settle for 30, resulting in a runners up place with England lifting the trophy. Ultimately, one more victory against England would have been enough, and there were numerous close matches across several rinks, but it wasn’t to be.

Scotland congratulate England on their success but our coaching team have taken many positives from the performances, which included varying combinations of players, formations and directors that was tested against tough international opponents. Furthermore, several new players made their international debut and it was a great opportunity for the players and staff to travel together and build upon the already strong team dynamic. In the long run this will aid the Scottish preparations for the Multi-Nations event at the beginning of June, which will ultimately qualify the nation for the Games itself.

There were several notable performances across the board but the team, via Captain Michael Simpson, highlighted John Wardrope (B7) for special mention. He was the only member of the squad to win all four of the games he competed, with a string of mature performances in two pair’s ties, alongside Martin Hunter and two fours ties, alongside Billy Allan, Barbara McMillan and Michael Simpson.

SDS would like to thank all the coaches, players and directors for their efforts over the course of the weekend and throughout the year thus far.

For a full list of players please click here.

GB Name 2017 BNP Paribas World Team Cup squad

Geraint Richards, the Tennis Foundation’s Head of Disability Player Performance, today announced his players selected to represent Great Britain in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Alghero, Sardinia, Italy, from 1 – 7 May 2017.

Great Britain will be competing in three of four events at the International Tennis Federation’s flagship wheelchair tennis event.

The teams will be:

Men’s Event – captained by Karen Ross

  •  Gordon Reid (Glasgow)
  • Alfie Hewett (Cantley)
  • Dermot Bailey (Kettering)

Quad Event – captained by Stuart Wilkinson

  •  Andy Lapthorne (Eastcote)
  • Antony Cotterill (Penistone)
  • James Shaw (Nottingham)

Junior Event – captained by Rob Cross

  •  Ruairi Logan (Edinburgh)
  • Alex Chaston (Greenwich, London)
  • George Davies (Coventry)

Great Britain made history at the 2015 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Antalya, Turkey, winning a first gold medal in the top tier of the men’s event after Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett beat France in both singles rubbers in the final.

Meanwhile, Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotterill were both members of the Great Britain team that won the most recent of four World Team Cup titles to date in 2014.

2016 National School Games boys’ singles gold medallist Ruairi Logan will represent Great Britain in the junior event for the third time alongside squad debutants Alex Chaston and George Davies.

“I’ve got really great memories from 2015 and I think we’ve got a great chance of winning the title against after the bronze medal last year,” said Reid. “Last year’s World Team Cup was the first I’d missed since first being selected as a junior, as Roland Garros was soon afterwards, so I’m excited to be back in the team this year and the possibilities for us.

“When we beat Paralympic champions Stephane Houdet and Nico Peifer in the Super Series final in South Africa a couple of weeks ago that was the first time me and Alfie had been on court together since Rio, so given that I expect France to be our toughest opponents it was a good way to go to the World Team Cup.”

“The World Team Cup is a very different event and I’ve got some great memories and am excited for next week,” said Lapthorne. “We’ve got quite a new team with Jamie Burdekin having now retired and James Shaw coming in for the second year. Myself and Antony are unbeaten in doubles for quite a long time now and are very confident about what we can do. I think there are three or four teams that can do some damage this time so we’ll be doing our best to regain the title.”

Geraint Richards commented: “While 2016 was an exceptional year for British wheelchair tennis as we returned from the Rio Paralympics with six medals and as the most successful wheelchair tennis nation, recent World Team Cups have also produced some memorable victories for our men’s, quad and junior teams and we look forward to challenging for more medals in Sardinia.

”To have both our Rio Paralympic men’s singles and doubles finalists Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett and Rio quad singles finalist Andy Lapthorne headlining this year’s GB squad of nine players is obviously very exciting. All three have plenty of World Team Cup experience to draw on and with Gordon, Alfie and Antony Cotterill having all enjoyed Super Series doubles victories earlier this month I am confident that we have a well-prepared squad that will do Great Britain and the Tennis Foundation Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme proud once again.”

Photos courtesy of the Tennis Foundation.

Disability Triathlon Series Set to Start in the East

Triathlon Scotland are working with Scottish Disability Sport and a number of local partners to facilitate three ‘come and try’ style triathlon events across Scotland, beginning in West Lothian on Sunday 21st May at Armadale Academy.

The introduction of the series has been born from the success of the Disability ‘Come and Tri’ event held at Blantyre Leisure centre over the last two years where a number of individuals have been successfully introduced to the sport of Triathlon.  The series will aim to develop this and hopefully engage a number of additional athletes with a physical, learning or sensory impairment from across other regions of the country – the remaining two events will be held in Blantyre (September) and Huntly (date TBC).

The first event in the series will be held at Armadale Academy with local branch Lothian Disability Sport, West Lothian Council Sports Development and Active Schools all working closely with Triathlon Scotland and Scottish Disability Sport to create this opportunity that will be open to all athletes regardless of ability, experience or where they are from.  Local clubs GRC and West Lothian Triathlon club have also been heavily involved in the lead up and will provide a more regular opportunity to any athlete who wishes to take their experience in the sport further and attend regular sessions.

Triathlon is a sport that consists of three disciplines – swim, cycle and run – and is one of the fastest growing sports in Scotland and the UK, with Scotland also boasting a current Paralympic silver medallist in Alison Patrick – the Fife based athlete is blind and competes in the PT5 category in Paratriathlon.  The event series is very much focused on participation and introducing individuals to the sport and this is reflected in the distances offered, the West Lothian event details can be found below and will offer two varying distances ‘sprint’ and ‘standard’ depending on the individual’s preference.

Event Distances

Event Swim Cycle Run
Sprint 100m 800m 350m
Standard 200m 1600m 700m

If you are keen to enter the event, then please click here.  Additional information can also be found be following the link to the Triathlon Scotland website.

If you are keen to discuss this event further, then please contact Calum Reid (Triathlon Scotland Development Manager) on 07860 716418 or Neal Herbert (Scottish Disability Sport East Regional Manager) on 0131 625 4414.


Fife Couple Inspired by GOGA in Fife

The Get Out Get Active (GOGA) in Fife programme plans to encourage and support inactive individuals and groups to engage and remain “active for life”. It focuses on increasing the number of people who are active, through effective engagement and signposting to local quality physical activity options.

Supported by Spirit of 2012, GOGA in Fife will inspire children, young people and adults with a physical, sensory or learning disability, plus significant others, to access and enjoy physical activity including sport. GOGA in Fife is inclusive in ethos and practice and will involve key Disability Sport Fife partners Fife Council, Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, Scottish Disability Sport, the local voluntary sector and three national partners concerned with walking, cycling and swimming.

Allan and Mandy Robertson from Glenrothes are two DSF members who are benefitting from GOGA in Fife. Allan has always been active and has an impressive history of representing DSF in a number of sports. Along with wife Mandy he has embarked on a daily walking programme that is recorded in a DSF diary and celebrated at an agreed time each month in the DSF office. They also swim together in a DSF session supported by GOGA. There is a clear commitment by this Fife couple to be more active more often and the introduction of GOGA in Fife has provided the incentive for change. Well done Allan and Mandy.

Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife

Group photo of Fife swim team

Fife Para Swimmer Breaks Scottish Championship Record

Ollie Carter from Cupar became the first physically disabled swimmer to break one minute for 100 metres freestyle at the Scottish Senior Championships for physically disabled and sensory impaired swimmers at Grangemouth Sports Complex. Ollie swims for Carnegie Swimming Club and is coached by Morag Mitchell. In total the Bell Baxter HS teenager won five national titles from five individual swims but the new Scottish Senior Championships record was the highlight of his outstanding day.

The three INCAS swimmers who were part of the seven strong Fife team are coached by Garrie Roberts. Cara Smyth from Dalgety Bay is Scotland’s number two junior physically disabled swimmer. Cara had four excellent swims against Scotland’s number one Beth Johnston from the Borders. Cara’s personal best performances were a clear indication that the young Inverkeithing HS pupil is improving with every major meet.

Kirsty Brunton from Dalgety Bay in her first season with INCAS had four swims and four titles in by far her most impressive national championships to date. Cameron Hemphill has only recently joined INCAS but within a short period he has demonstrated considerable improvement across all his strokes. The young Bell Baxter HS pupil swam as a junior guest and recorded a series of PBs at the championships.

Scotland swim squad member Steven McCormick from FINS picked up two silver medals on his way to another successful national championships. Experienced Michelle Hill from Strathmiglo won double gold in the women’s events for swimmers with a severe physical impairment and Connor Brown from Woodmill HS in his first national championships had similar success with double gold in backstroke and freestyle.

Team Fife finished runners up behind a dominant West of Scotland Team but the highlight of the day for Fife was that excellent national record for Ollie Carter.

Richard Brickley MBE
President Disability Sport Fife

New Strategic Plan Launched

Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) is delighted to launch a new strategic plan which will direct the work of the Association through to 2021 and beyond. The plan, entitled “Inspiring Through Inclusion 2017-2021“, has been developed following a comprehensive consultation process with key partners and strategic bodies across Scotland.

This Association’s vision is to lead inclusive sport in Scotland for participants and athletes with a physical, sensory or learning disability.

Scottish Disability Sport passionately believes in leading and developing inclusive opportunities and improving performance. This will ensure that any child, young person or adult with a disability can participate in sport and physical activity – no matter ability, geography or age. SDS will consolidate, develop and work in partnership to transform lives through the power of sport, focusing on five key areas:

ENGAGE AND PARTICIPATE – Identify, engage and sustain participant involvement through quality sporting opportunities

PROGRESS AND PERFORM – Supporting athletes to achieve their potential in performance sport

COACHING, EDUCATION AND LEARNING – Supporting quality assured training, development and learning opportunities

GOVERNANCE – Building a robust and accountable organisation with sound planning, policy and procedures

COMMUNICATION – Targeted, effective communication to all partners and individuals

Inclusion remains at the heart of the new strategic plan and is to be driven through a refreshed “Sports Inclusion Mode (SIM)” that will permeate throughout the work of the Association. SDS will work through the SIM with coaches, volunteers, clubs, activity sessions, schools, tertiary education, and all key stakeholders working in physical education, physical activity and sport to ensure inclusion is considered at all levels of the sporting pathway.

At all times, SDS will ensure an equitable approach to all aspects of the strategic plan and will also ensure that safe and secure environments are provided for all children, athletes, players, coaches, volunteers, officials and spectators.

“Inspiring Through Inclusion 2017-2021” is hot off the press and is in the process of being distributed widely to all key partners and stakeholders across Scotland.

Grampian GOGA Inclusive Cycling Training Course

As part of Grampian Disability Sports ‘Get Out, Get Active’ project the first ever adapted cycling hub will be set up at Garioch Sports Centre, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.  This will be the first ever hub in the North East.  On Friday 21st April eight cycles leaders were trained who will lead the weekly group rides in the near future.

The cycle leaders got to try out the inclusive cycles available so that they could understand each individual bike and how people with a disability can benefit from taking part in the sport of cycling.

Thanks to Garioch Sports Centre, one of our partners, for hosting this course.

For more information on this project contact