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.
Final results, by division, with hometowns in brackets:
Gold: Chris Halpen (Victoria, B.C.)
Silver: Lance Cryderman (Val Caron, Ont.)
Bronze: Eric Lefebvre (Montreal)
Gold: Danik Allard (Bois-des-Filion, Que.)
Silver: Mike Mercer (St. John’s)
Bronze: Dave Richer (Sainte-Julie, Que.)
Gold: Eric Bussière (Verchères, Que.)
Silver: Philippe Lord (Blainville, Que.)
Bronze: Marylou Martineau (Quebec City)
Gold: Alison Levine (Côte- Saint Luc, Que.)
Silver: Marco Dispaltro (Saint-Jérôme, Que.)
Bronze: Iulian Ciobanu (Montreal)
Gold: Giovanni De Sero (Guelph, Ont.)
Silver: Josh Hayes (St. John’s)
Bronze: Marc-Antoine Goupil (Honfleur, Que.)
Gold: Nikki Kennedy (St. John’s)
Silver: Terrie Hefford (St. John’s, NL)
Third: Kayla Payne (St. John’s)