Boccia England's Dan Headley will be heading off to the Tokyo Paralympics in his role as an international boccia referee. Dan will be sharing his experiences during the Games, providing us with an exclusive "behind the scenes" view!

Meet Dan

Name: Dan Headley

Refereed since: 2010

International Referee since: 2015

Top tip to a new referee: Be confident in yourself and your ability but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are not sure.

Hobbies outside of Boccia: Running, photography, listening to podcasts and watching sport.


Dan in Japan

Update: Tuesday 24th August 

Dan headed off to Birmingham Airport this morning to start his journey to Tokyo accompanied by Jack, the Boccia England mascot! Stay tuned to find out how he's getting on and to follow Dan and Jack's adventures.



Update: Wednesday 25th August 

Dan has arrived in Tokyo! Watch the highlights of his journey in the video below.


Update: Thursday 26th August 

The next morning Dan went to collect all his official Tokyo 2020 kit.


Update: Friday 27th August 

Here's the walk from Dan's hotel to the boccia venue - the Ariake Centre - where competition will start tomorrow.


Update: Saturday 28th August

Today the action began! The morning routine started with the daily saliva test sample and temperature checks...

Dan was refereeing the following individual mixed pool matches (Japan time):

9.30am - BC4 - Davor Komar (CRO) vs Wai Yan Vivian Lau (HKG)

11.55am - BC3 - Yuen Ki Ho (HKG) vs Hansoon Kim (KOR)

4pm - BC4 - Yuk Wing Leung (HKG) vs Sergey Safin (RPC) - THIS MATCH WAS LIVE-STREAMED!

6.25pm - BC3 - Aleksander Legostaev (PRC) vs Samir Van Der Beken (FRA)



Update: Sunday 29th August

Dan's second day of refereeing the individual pool matches. Here's a photo he took of the field of play before the competition got underway...

Dan was refereeing the following individual mixed pool matches (Japan time):

10.40am - BC1 - Sungjoon Jung (KOR) vs Andreza Vitoria Ferreira De Oliveira (BRA)

1.20pm - BC2 - Zhiqiang Yan (CHN) vs Jonathan Aquino (ARG)

5.10pm - BC1 - Jose Carlos Chagas De Oliveira (BRA) vs Yuriko Fuji (JPN)

7.50pm - BC2 - Marciel De Sousa Santos (BRA) vs Luis Claudio Cristaldo (ARG)


Update: Monday 30th August

Dan's third day of refereeing the individual pool matches. Here's a glimpse into how he and the other officials were spending their time between matches...

Dan was refereeing the following individual mixed pool matches (Japan time):

9.30am - BC4 - Kwan Hang Wong (HKG) vs Shun Esaki (JPN) - THIS MATCH WAS LIVE-STREAMED!

11.55am - BC3 - Gregoria Polychronidis (GRE) vs Avelino Andrande (POR)

4pm - BC4 - Ximei Lin (CHN) vs Carla Oliveira (POR)

6.25pm - BC3 - Anna Ntenda (GRE) vs Samir Van Der Beken (FRA)


Update: Tuesday 31st August

Today were the quarter finals and semi finals!

Dan also got his first rain of the trip today and made a new friend!



Update: Wednesday 1st September

Today was the day of the individual finals and the day David Smith MBE won his gold medal in the BC1 competition! Dan was a liner for the BC4 final!


Update: Thursday 2nd September

Teams and Pairs competitions started today. 

Dan was refereeing the following matches (Japan time):

11.25am - BC3 Pair - HKG vs POR

4.20pm - BC4 Pair - HKG vs COL

Update: Friday 3rd September

Dan was ready for the penultimate day of competition - the final 5 rounds of Teams and Pairs matches to decide the semifinalists.


Dan was refereeing the following matches (Japan time):

9.30am - BC3 Pair - AUS vs POR

2.25pm - BC3 Pair - AUS vs BRA

6.05pm - BC3 Pair - GRE vs KOR

Update: Saturday 4th September

It's finals day!!

Dan was refereeing the following matches (Japan time):


7.10pm - Team Final - THI vs CHN - THIS MATCH WAS LIVE-STREAMED!..


Dan's Story

The journey to becoming an international referee started in 2010 when Dan attended a Young Officials course as part of a London 2012 awareness raising  programme, whilst studying at Loughborough College. Following the training he attended the Regional Championships in Nottingham where he was able to see how competitive the sport can be and fell in love with it.


‘The volunteers and staff were extremely welcoming and supportive making me feel part of the team straight away.’

In 2012, Dan was one of 22 National Technical Officials (NTO) for the London Paralympics, the NTO role involved being an on court  liner or timer. Following this experience, Dan’s ambition to become an international referee and to one day get to a Paralympics started. In 2015, Dan took a big step forward to achieving his ambition of refereeing at a Paralympics when he completed the International Referee training In Poznan, Poland.

Since completing the course Dan has been to numerous competitions including Regional Championships in Povoa, Portugal and Seville, Spain. Dan continued to volunteer with Boccia England attending regional and national competitions.

When at these competitions, Dan is always there to supports new officials and volunteers as well as other officials with less experience or those that are nervous and unsure. When Dan is on court, he behaves in a professional manner, he is confident when talking to players and if violations occur, he will explain the reasoning behind the outcome, which helps the players to develop and understand the game more. Dan can always be seen supporting others  whether that be officials, competition staff or players, however he is also still willing to develop himself as an official.

Dan unknowingly is an inspiration to young officials, and they aspire to be like him.


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