Having a ball: boccia goes from strength to strength

The state school boccia finals showcased just how far the remarkable sport has come. Glenn Cullen reports.

Students in a line with their hands in the air. Students in a line with their hands in the air.
Image: Medal-winning high schools from the state boccia finals: Killara High School, St Clair High School and Fairvale High School.

From Bega to Broken Hill and Casino to Killara, the sport of boccia continues to bowl over allcomers.

The 11th state school finals were recently held at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park last week, the explosion in interest and participants meaning the competition hosted two days of competition for the first time.

Primary and secondary students battled it out to become the top school in the state in the ball sport which has elements of bocce, bowls and pétanque and can be contested by participants with a range of physical disabilities.

More than 400 teams were initially registered for competition across the state, eventually whittled down to 16 primary and 16 secondary schools for the NSW decider.

“Students from these schools may never have had the opportunity to represent their school in a sporting competition,” said Anthony Moyes, Disability Inclusion Officer, School Sport Unit.

“We really appreciate the effort made by teachers, support staff, principals, and families to get teams to Sydney from long distances away. The students get a great opportunity, and it means that the competition is a truly statewide program.”

After some strong competition on day one, Pennant Hills Public School moved through to the final where they took on the travelling Albury North Public School team.

It was a close-run affair, but the Sydneysiders proved too good in the championship match, winning 3-2.

It was an all-Sydney affair in the secondary championships with Killara High School meeting St Clair High School in the decider.

The title went north of the harbour, with Killara coming out on top 4-2.

But the event was more than just about winning on the day, with so many students coming from around the state to participate.

“My students thoroughly enjoyed the day and attending the finals meant that we were able to take my students on a three-day excursion to Sydney,” said Ruth Davis, teacher at Quirindi Public School.

“The majority of my students have never been to a big city before so they have made memories to last a lifetime and without them making the boccia finals none of this would have been possible.”

The School Sport Unit will now hold a representative boccia tournament and is inviting students from across NSW to trial for selection.

Students who are selected will be placed into representative teams to compete at the NSW state tournament in Sydney in November.

Selection trials will be held from 21-24 August, with registration closing on 18 August.

For further information and to register visit the website.

Students in front of a large sign. Students in front of a large sign.
Image: Medal-winning primary schools from the state boccia finals: Pennant Hills Public School, Albury North Public School, Quaama Public School.
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