Schedule for the 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships Released
The 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships, part of UK Sport’s #EveryRoadtoRio, will take place on July 25th and 26th at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. The top eight ranked European nations in the BC1/BC2 Team, BC3 Pair and BC4 Pair have qualified for the Championships and the winners of each event will receive a direct qualification slot for Rio 2016.
With World rankings of one in the BC1/BC2 Team, two in the BC3 Pair and two in the BC4 Pair, Great Britain are the top seeds in each event and will be looking to make home advantage count. They will face strong opposition from traditional Boccia powerhouses Portugal and Spain as well as up and coming nations Slovakia and Greece.
The schedule has been published on the competition website and there will be live streaming on Saturday 25th July on the GB Boccia YouTube channel as follows:
10:00 BC1/BC2 Team – Great Britain v Israel
11:45 BC4 Pair – Great Britain v Croatia
13:00 BC3 Pair – Great Britain v Sweden
14:45 BC4 Pair – Great Britain v Slovakia
16:00 BC1/BC2 Team – Slovakia v Portugal
The semi-finals and finals will be broadcast on Saturday at 10:00 and 14:00 respectively.
The event is part of UK Sport’s £8m National Lottery funded #EveryRoadtoRio events series, which is bringing over 30 World and European level competitions to the UK to help Britain’s athletes prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
David Smith, who won BC1 Individual Silver and BC1/BC2 Team Bronze at London 2012 is looking forward to competing: “This is an incredible opportunity on home soil to qualify for Rio. With the benefit of our National Lottery support we have been training hard at Surrey Sports Park and we are prepared to take on the best of Europe to win those slots.”
John Dowson, Chair of GB Boccia said: “We are very excited to be hosting the 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships. This is a very important staging post on the Road to Rio with GB athletes preparing well after their medal success at last year’s World Championships in Beijing and we are grateful for UK Sport’s support in hosting the competition.”
UK Sport Director or Major Events and International Relations Simon Morton said: “The Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships is one of 15 Paralympic events being hosted in the UK as part of our National Lottery backed Every Road to Rio events series, supporting athletes with their preparation and qualification for Rio 2016. This group of events provide fantastic opportunities for our athletes to benefit from home support as they aim to reach next summer’s Games best prepared for success.”
President of BISFed, David Hadfield, said: “I am delighted that the first ever Boccia European Team and Pairs Competition is going to be held in Great Britain. UK Sport, which is supporting the Championships as part of its ‘Road to Rio’, has always been a great supporter of BISFed and we look forward to showcasing the best of European Boccia during a weekend when the nation’s attention will be focused on Paralympic sport.”
Paul Blanchard, Surrey Sports Park Chief Executive said: “We are both proud and excited to be hosting the first ever Boccia European Teams and Pairs Championships here at Surrey Sports Park. We look forward to welcoming Europe’s elite Boccia athletes to the University of Surrey for what promises to be a superb weekend of Paralympic sport on the Road to Rio.”
Boccia is a Paralympic sport with no Olympic equivalent. It is a target ball sport with similarities to bowls and curling designed specifically for athletes with a disability. Played indoors with soft leather balls, the aim of the game is to get your balls closer to the white ‘jack’ ball than your opponent.
The BC1/BC2 Team consists of three players on court per side, at least one of whom must be from the BC1 classification. All players in these classifications have Cerebral Palsy. Great Britain as European Champions and Paralympic and World Bronze medallists will be battling for the title with old foes Portugal sure to mount a challenge.
The BC3 Pair has two players on court per side. The BC3 players use an assistive device, known as a ramp, to propel the ball onto court. It will be a hotly contested competition with three of the World’s top four based in Europe. World Silver medallists Great Britain will be vying for Gold with Paralympic Champions Greece.
The BC4 classification is for athletes who do not have Cerebral Palsy but have conditions that are functionally similar. The BC4 Pair features two players aside on court. European Champions Great Britain will have to beware Hungary who will be out for revenge having taken the Silver medal behind them in Portugal in 2013.
Championships website: www.2015bocciaeuropean.com
GB Boccia website: www.gb-boccia.org
BISFed website: www.bisfed.com
UK Sport Road to Rio website: http://www.uksport.gov.uk/road-to-rio-events
Surrey Sports Park website: http://www.surreysportspark.co.uk/