Boccia – #ScotsOnParaGB
In the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Scottish Disability Sport is delighted to provide an overview of the sports that Scots are competing in as part of ParalympicsGB. Last but certainly not least in the series of sports, we are highlighting the sport of Boccia and Paralympians.
Comparable to the French boules game of petanque, the sport of boccia has been refined from an ancient Greek game in Italy in the 16th century. Boccia is derived from the ancient Italian game ‘bocce’ and was adapted for disabled athletes in Sweden in the 1970s. It was introduced to the UK shortly after, where it was developed further into the sport we know today.
Boccia made its debut at the Paralympic Games in New York in 1984 and is now practiced at elite level in over 50 countries. Men and women compete together in teams, pairs and or as individuals. It is a sport for players with a severe physical disability but can be played by all. Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) is the recognised governing body for boccia in Scotland.
Scottish Disability Sport is delighted for the Scottish contingent that make up 60 % of the biggest GB Boccia team to date in the Paralympics. Six players and two ramp assistants and one coach are team members of ParalympicsGB:
- Joshua Rowe (BC2)
At the age of thirteen Perth athlete Joshua was re-introduced to boccia at a Scottish Disability Sports Summer Camp. From there he was invited to attend a Scottish Squad training session. Joshua has also had success on the international stage where he was part of the BC1/BC2 team that won bronze at the BISFed Boccia World Championships 2014.
One of his favourite competitions to date was the 2015 BISFed European Continental Cup in where he helped the BC1/BC2 team to gold and then went on to win silver in the BC2 individual a couple of days later. Another career highlight was the team’s gold medal triumph at the 2015 European Teams and Pairs Championships.
- Scott McCowan (BC3)
Dundonald based athlete Scott took up the sport in 2006 aged 15 years and made his Paralympic games debut just six years later in London 2012. Scott will be building on his first games experience in London when competing later this week. These games will very much be a family affair as Scott and Jamie’s parents Gary and Linda will be their competition partners (ramp assistants). International successes for Scott include a silver medal at the 2014 BISFed World Championships and bronze at the 2013 BISFed European Championships.
- Jamie McCowan (BC3)
Jamie competed in his first international competition at the age of twelve in the BC4 category and became European Champion in 2013 in this class but as his muscular deterioration progressed Jamie was reclassified as a BC3 player. He competed for the first time in the BISFed European Championships in 2015 in the BC3 class and will make his Paralympic Games debut in Rio. He will not only play in the individual competition but will join ranks with his brother Scott to make a formidable combination in the team and pairs competition.
- Patrick Wilson (BC3)
Edinburgh based Patrick first got into boccia through a regional come-and-try multi-sport event. As a 15 year old, it took a while for Patrick to get into the game but after realising he was pretty good at the sport he joined the East of Scotland Boccia Club, where he started to get to grips with the intricacies of the game and gain a greater tactical understanding of the sport. Patrick quickly progressed to international competition, winning silver in the BC3 pairs at the 2014 World Championships. Patrick is the youngest member of the squad at the age of twenty. This will be his Paralympic Games debut in Rio.
- Kieran Steer (BC4)
Keiran was first exposed to the sport of boccia in 2010 through a multi sports day hosted by Disability Sport Fife (DSF). Kieran quickly moved up the ranks and in 2013 was selected to be part of the Great Britain squad following his involvement in the fast track talent programme. Through his career in boccia he has been supported by DSF, Scottish Disability Sport and GB Boccia. Some of Kieran’s successes to date are winning silver at the 2015 BISFed Boccia European Championships Team and Pairs, and gold medal at the 2013 BISFed European Championships in the BC4 pairs competition.
- Stephen McGuire (BC4)
Stephen returned from BISFed 2016 World Individual Championships as World Champion and ranked second in the world after taking on the best boccia players in the world in Beijing. The South Lanarkshire athlete widely known as one of half of the boccia brothers with his brother Peter being the other half, has played Boccia for 11 years and is looking forward to competing in his second Paralympic Games.
In July 2013 Claire became the first full time paid GB coach. Up until this time, Claire coached boccia at a Scottish and GB level in a voluntary capacity. Over the past 13 years Claire has been integral to the coaching fabric of boccia in Scotland. She coaches full time across Great Britain and Northern Ireland involved in week-long coaching camps, mini camps and individual sessions held for GB squad members. She maintains her voluntary role as Scottish National Coach, and works with three squad coaches to develop and build the Scottish team.
For a schedule of boccia events please follow the link below:
Scottish Disability Sport has produced a factsheet about boccia which can be downloaded here.
And a video fact file can be viewed here:
If you or any one you know has a disability and would like to get involved in boccia please telephone Scottish Disability Sport on 0131 317 1130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The waiting will be over and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be opened tomorrow (Wednesday 7th September) by a flamboyant fiesta in the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. This is being shown on Channel 4 at 9pm. SDS will be posting a daily round up of the games with results to keep you up to date. For a full schedule of the games please click here, and for a summary of events with Scottish athletes download our Schedule Day by Day.