JPA adds boccia to its list of sports
The Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) continues to expand the sporting options available to para-athletes and has now added boccia, a precision ball sport, to its menu as it takes aims at a Paralympic Games berth.
Currently, the JPA and Boccia Jamaica (BJ), with the endorsement of World Boccia/Boccia International Sports Federation, are pursuing development initiatives one of which is a series of educational webinars for athletes, coaches, and sport executives, and they have extended participation to several Caribbean National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), which are already on board.
JPA President and Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) Executive Board Member, Christopher Samuda, in reinforcing the mission of the JPA, stated: “The JPA is committed to growing para sport locally, and our investment in boccia exemplifies this while emphasising our regional outlook as part of a strategic Caribbean vision to increase the competitiveness of the region’s athletes in a diversity of para sport.”
Convener and facilitator of the webinars, Jamaican Peter Hornig, an official of BJ and an international boccia educator/coach, is very optimistic: “I am keen to educate the first cohort of boccia athletes and instructors who will spread the message, values, and skills of good playing practices throughout Jamaica” he remarked.
A cadre of athletes has been identified by the JPA and BJ, and an aggressive target of achieving representation in regional and international games within a year has been set by the JPA.
“The target is not unattainable as I am confident that talent will come to the fore, and with discipline, commitment and coaching expertise, we should achieve a successful entry on to the international stage” Samuda said.
The last four years have seen the successful introduction of several para sports, including judo, tae kwon do, archery, and surfing, with good results. Bronze medals were earned in both judo and tae kwon do at the Lima 2019 Para Pan-American Games by athletes who had only taken up the sports just over a year before the games and both went on to represent Jamaica at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021.