With the support of the International Paralympic Committee’s Agitos Foundation, bp (the multinational oil and gas company), BISFed Member Boccia India and Reech Sports (a provider of sports related education programmes), BISFed has successfully concluded a development Boccia project in India.
The project’s goals were to:
- Use BISFed’s Making Boccia Accessible and Coaching Level 1 courses to develop knowledge and expertise in boccia in India.
- Capitalise on this new knowledge and expertise. The 13 course participants have so far delivered training sessions to over one hundred adults and children in schools and centres in Mumbai, Pune, Haryana, Punjab and Navi Mumbai.
One of these centres was the Adapt Bandra Sports Centre. Senior Director Rekha Vijayakar commented “Our children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Downs Syndrome participated with great interest in the exciting sports activities, anxiously awaiting the training sessions. All the games come as challenges to our special participants.”
The project generated so much interest in Boccia that the local team trained 13 more coaches and recruited volunteers who could help the coaches work with even more Centres.
As a final stage to the project, the Adapt Bandra Sports Centre hosted the Maharashtra State Invitational Open Boccia Tournament in March 2020 with 42 participants.
One of the participants, Joseph Rodrigues, played boccia for the first time during this tournament. Such was his enthusiasm and skill that he was selected to participate in the Boccia India National Championship where he won gold in the BC3 category. After being presented with his medal, Joseph said: “It’s my first ever sport that I’ve participated in after my injury and this is the best part of my life, one of the reasons to move on. I feel very confident and on top of everything very happy.”
Duncan Blake, Senior Vice President Brand and Showcasing, bp, said: “bp is delighted to support the boccia project in India. It has opened up a new opportunity for differently abled people, coming from very different backgrounds.”
BISFed President David Hadfield commented: “BISFed is grateful to all our partners on this project; it has shown how, working together with local organisations, it is possible to reach and inspire large numbers of people who may not otherwise have the chance to play sport”
Rita van Driel, Chairperson Executive Committee Agitos Foundation noted: “The IPC and the Agitos Foundation are pleased to see the Grant Support Programme enabling the development of boccia in India. We would also like to thank bp for their continued support to the Paralympic Movement.”