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Boccia England survey confirms the sport’s positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing

November 25, 2020

A press release:

Boccia England, the national governing body for the disability sport, has released the findings of its 2020 survey which show that, despite the impact of Covid-19, the game is making a significant difference for players with limited mobility. 81% say playing boccia is having a positive impact on their daily lives, and for 76%, participating in the game has improved their confidence.

 

Asked about playing boccia outside of the Covid-19 restrictions, 66% replied that they play once a week or more, and 39% say it has encouraged them to get involved in other activities where possible.

 

Boccia is an international target ball game played from a seated position and is ideal for wheelchair users. It tests muscle control and accuracy as players propel balls to land close to a white marker ball. Over 54,000 people in England played the game in 2020, and for over half the regular players it is the only sporting option open to them.

 

The survey asked about the impact of Covid-19 on players’ levels of activity and on their mental health. 51% of respondents are less active now as a direct result of the need to stay safe, and for 47% there has been a significant impact on mental wellbeing.

 

Nineteen-year-old Azhad Fauzi plays boccia through his club in Durham. During the first pandemic lockdown, Azhad took part in The Rainbow Cup, an online competition organised by Boccia England.

 

He says: “The Rainbow Cup was an amazing way to stay connected and to share my progress with friends and family. It has given them a small insight to what Boccia was and how important it is to me. It sparked a spirit that I thought had been lost during isolation and made me more motivated and competitive with every challenge. It allowed me to be creative and use the limited space and resources around me that I never knew could be helpful for training.” 

CEO of Boccia England Chris Ratcliffe said: “The results of our annual survey cover the period affected by the pandemic when we launched Boccia at Home. I’m delighted to see how the game is being played for fun, or competitively in kitchens, dining rooms and gardens and then streamed online. It’s all about giving people a way to build back physical and mental resilience, as well as maintaining a sense of social and community involvement.

“In time we will be able to get back to our local clubs and the face-to-face competitions all of us enjoy.  Despite the limitations we face, it’s clear from the survey that this game makes a massive difference in the lives of people who would otherwise miss out on the benefits a sport can bring”. 

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