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Boccia athletes bowled over those who took in national championships in St. John's

Nikkie Kennedy (right) and Terri Hefford of St. John's had a 1-2 finish in the Open Division of the national boccia championships, held in St. John's over the weekend. — Boccia Canada
Nikkie Kennedy (right) and Terri Hefford of St. John's had a 1-2 finish in the Open Division of the national boccia championships, held in St. John's over the weekend. — Boccia Canada - Contributed

Once they got rolling, Canada’s top boccia athletes turned in some superb performances in St. John’s over the weekend.
The Canadian Boccia Championships, hosted by Easter Seals NL, were held in the Newfoundland capital, and although last week’s gale force winds delayed the arrival of participants from outside the province, meaning up to a three-day wait for some of the athletes to get to St. John’s, competition was held through to medal games in six ndividuals divisions.
Quebec athletes won nine of 18 medals. Those from Newfoundland and Labrador had five podium finishes.
Unfortunately, teams and pairs events were cancelled.
“Considering the very difficult circumstances … the athletes, officials, coaches and volunteers did a marvelous job,” said organizing committee co-chairs Cluney Mercer and Tony Redmond in a release Monday.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. Even with the travel delays, these inspirational athletes kept smiling and had a lot of fun.
Boccia is a Paralympic co-ed sport that is played indoors and can see anyone participate, both those with or without a disability. Originally designed for people with severe cerebral palsy, it is now enjoyed by players with a wide variety of disabilities. It’s easy for a beginner to pick up quickly, but builds in intensity and complexity as players hone their skills.
This truly an inclusive sport. Besides being thrown, balls can be rolled or kicked. If a player can’t roll or kick, they can use a ramp. If they can’t let the ball go with their hand, they can use a head or hand pointer.

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Results

Final results, by division, with hometowns in brackets:

BC1
Gold: Chris Halpen (Victoria, B.C.)
Silver: Lance Cryderman (Val Caron, Ont.)
Bronze: Eric Lefebvre (Montreal)

BC2
Gold: Danik Allard (Bois-des-Filion, Que.)
Silver: Mike Mercer (St. John’s)
Bronze: Dave Richer (Sainte-Julie, Que.)

BC3
Gold: Eric Bussière (Verchères, Que.)
Silver: Philippe Lord (Blainville, Que.)
Bronze: Marylou Martineau (Quebec City)

BC4
Gold: Alison Levine (Côte- Saint Luc, Que.)
Silver: Marco Dispaltro (Saint-Jérôme, Que.)
Bronze: Iulian Ciobanu (Montreal)

BC5
Gold: Giovanni De Sero (Guelph, Ont.)
Silver: Josh Hayes (St. John’s)
Bronze: Marc-Antoine Goupil (Honfleur, Que.)

Open
Gold: Nikki Kennedy (St. John’s)
Silver: Terrie Hefford (St. John’s, NL)
Third: Kayla Payne (St. John’s)

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