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Outstanding Ipswich special school wins big at county boccia championships

PUBLISHED: 16:11 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:11 13 November 2018

The Walsey team proudly displaytheir medals Picture: PAULINE DARBYSHIRE

The Walsey team proudly displaytheir medals Picture: PAULINE DARBYSHIRE


An Ipswich school has won gold and silver trophies in the Boccia under-19 county championships.

Through to the next round, the Wolsey team stand proud Picture: PAULINE DARBYSHIREThrough to the next round, the Wolsey team stand proud Picture: PAULINE DARBYSHIRE

Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy, which recently received an Outstanding Ofsted report, took two teams to the tournament in Ipswich coming out with first and second places finishes.

Boccia is a sport similar to bowls which is played by disabled competitors who live with motor skills issues, the game centres around getting your coloured ball as close to the white ball as possible.

It has been a main staple of the Paralympic games since 1984 and Thomas Wolsey staff hope that they can produce some top athletes of their own.

Pauline Darbyshire who organises the teams at the academy said: “The kids were fantastic and showed some true professionalism at the championships and supporting their team members.

Thomas Wolsey Academy's Boccia team will now compete in the regional championships Picture: PAULINE DARBYSHIREThomas Wolsey Academy's Boccia team will now compete in the regional championships Picture: PAULINE DARBYSHIRE

“Boccia is completely inclusive as a sport, everyone of our children at Thomas Wolsey can play it.”

The inclusive nature of the game stretches far as competitors who don’t have use of their arms use a head-pusher to discharge the ball, whilst those with sensory issues or restricted movement position ramps to play the game.

Ms Darbyshire was keen to reiterate the importance of Boccia to the pupils at Thomas Wolsey Academy.

She said: “The kids live for the sport, they are really passionate about Boccia, it means the world to them.

“We have had people go on to national championships with Boccia, we’ve got someone training with the national team with Boccia, they compete at a high level.

“It teaches them so much, they learn to organise, to be independent and teamwork.”

Both Wolsey teams have qualified for the next round of the Boccia championships and will be going to the regional finals, held in Lowestoft, in March.

15-year-old George Bellinger and Harrison Mayhew-Kemp, 14 both won gold medals at the county championships and are eagerly awaiting the next round.

Harrison said: “I’m excited for the regionals but I’m a bit nervous too, I just want to make sure I do my best, we’ve got to do a lot of training before it happens.”

Teammate George added: “We have high hopes of playing at the Paralympics but right now we are just focusing on the regionals.”

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