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Paralympic champ hopes to lead boys to national success




EXCITING STEPS: Broadlands Hall boccia team have progressed to the national finals of next month's Lord's Taverners U19 National Boccia Championships, in their first time of entering the competition
EXCITING STEPS: Broadlands Hall boccia team have progressed to the national finals of next month's Lord's Taverners U19 National Boccia Championships, in their first time of entering the competition

Broadlands Hall School have become the Lord’s Taverners boccia East Anglian champions, with the help of a gold medal-winning para-athlete.

The independent school for boys with special educational needs entered the Lord’s Taverners U19 National Boccia Championships, a schools competition for young people with a physical disability.

Coached by local Paralympian Dan Bentley — who won boccia gold at the 2008 Paralympics — the school’s boccia team won the regional finals last Friday.

They now progress to next month’s National Championships. The Finals, to be held at Herfordshire University, will see the qualifiers from the 11 regional competitions battle it out on April 20.

Bentley approached headteacher, Hazel Simmons, 18 months ago after seeing the students at Haverhill Sports Centre.

Simmons said: “Any sport participation is great for young people, inspiring them to achieve, and developing thinking skills, team-work and an active, healthy lifestyle.

“Boccia is fantastic because it is very inclusive as well as great fun.

“Last year we were awarded a teaching package by Boccia UK that enables students to gain a vocational and personal development qualification built around the boccia game.”

Boccia is a target sport played indoors with soft leather balls. The Lord’s Taverners, meanwhile, is the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity.



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