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I never dreamed I’d get to represent my country on the Boccia team, a precision, seated, indoor ball sport similar to that of lawn Bowles where red and blue leather balls and a white leather jack are thrown or pushed down a ramp primarily by people in wheelchairs.
We arrived at the World Boccia Intercontinental Challenger event in Rome (a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Paralympics) not really knowing what to expect. Having trained for more than a year, still not perfect but cautiously optimistic, we were eager to test ourselves against the standard
But then a sudden realisation hit, our team comprised of myself, a debutant and a season campaigner were up against Great Britain the world number five. We didn’t have any expectations, just to go out there, have fun, and minimise damage. Remarkably, our defensive strategy nearly pulled off a miraculous victory only going down 3-4. We were riding high, but still wondering what could have been.
Next came Team Spain, confidence was high on the team, but we were eager to stay in the moment and play each hall on its merits. We chipped away and finished 7-2 winners. Thanks to Great Britain, who comfortably beat Spain, we were out of our pool group and into the quarter finals.
Next up, Brazil who is world number two. We were quietly confident that if we played our best game another massive steal could be on the horizon. We ultimately went down 2-5 but were in it right until the end.
In my individual competitions, I again fell short at the fundamentals but knew that at my best I could be competitive against everyone I played on the world stage.
This tournament challenged my beliefs on what I thought was possible and helped me reflect on what I need to work on to be at my best. It was amazing to see the standard, interact and compete against some of the world’s best (turning a dream into a reality) and most importantly make cherished bonds that I will remember forever. An amazing experience overall.