News and events Stories Boccia Award Winners 2018 Congratulations go to all of the 2018 Boccia Award Winners! The 2018 Boccia Awards are a celebration of sporting achievements in our sport. The Boccia awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our athletes, coaches, officials and clubs across England between 1st January 2017 – 31st December 2017. Mike Walker chair of the Boccia England Board said: "The Boccia Awards this year are recognising some extremely dedicated and inspirational individuals and we are extremely proud of their achievements in Boccia throughout 2017. Alongside these winners, it is important to mention the many nominees who allowed me, as the new chair of Boccia England, to see the vast range of sporting talent and commitment there is within Boccia. Every nomination told an amazing story of determination and achievement. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for each of these incredible ambassadors of our sport”. We received a really high number of nominations this year and the judging panel had a tough task to choose winners for each of the following categories: - Athlete of the year - Official of the year- Coach of the Year- Club of the Year The panel chose the following winners, who will receive their awards at upcoming Boccia England events. Athlete of the Year 2018 – Alfie Yates Alfie is a very promising young athlete who his nominator described as “diligent beyond his years”. He is an excellent communicator with amazing levels of motivation to help him produce some great performances. In 2017 Alfie had a great season in which he became a Gold medallist at the National Heathcoat Cup and helped his National Boccia League team, Jorvik, take the national title. As if this wasn’t enough, Alfie went on to become the youngest player to be selected for the England Performance Group in 2017. For such a young athlete these achievements are a sign of even greater performances to come. When hearing about winning the award Alfie said, “It was completely unexpected — It came out of nowhere. I feel so very pleased to have become the ‘Boccia Athlete of the Year 2018’ to be honest just saying those 6 exciting words it pretty cool. It feels epic! Officials of the Year 2018 – Anne Cradock and Tim Cradock Anne and Tim Cradock are very familiar faces at Boccia events across the country and in 2017 they maintained their constant support. Anne and Tim are very experienced officials and are always on hand to share their knowledge with newer officials or volunteers. Several nominators took the time to say how they were welcomed to the sport by both Anne and Tim and this welcome ensured they stayed within the sport. Over 2017 Anne and Tim supported National events including the BE cup, UK Championships and the Special Olympic National Games but they also volunteered at local open competitions in which their passion and enthusiasm for the sport was inspirational to new players, coaches and volunteers. Anne Cradock said “We are honoured and delighted to have been jointly awarded the ‘Boccia Official of the Year for 2018.’ Our Boccia family have been with us on our officiating journey as we have learned and developed in confidence and knowledge. We would like to thank all of you for both your support and your friendship”. Tim Cradock added to this saying “Wow, honoured and delighted, thank you”. Coach of the Year 2018 – Martin Cook Martin is passionate about providing sporting opportunities for the disabled. Martin runs a Boccia club at Victoria Education Centre, a special school for disabled students aged 3 – 19. Not only does he coach these club sessions but the students know they can come any lunch-time and Martin will help them train. Alongside this Martin is a volunteer at the Victoria Community Boccia Club which has attracted many past students as well as people new to the sport of Boccia. Martin regularly gives up weekends to further his coaching skills and recently completed his Level 2 qualification. Martin travels to competitions all over the country to support students at the school and members of the Community Boccia club. While at these competitions Martin has even been known to help the competitors by offering coaching tips if he feels he can help. A true asset to the sport of Boccia. Club of the Year 2018 – Improving Lives Plymouth Boccia Club Improving Lives Plymouth Boccia Club go above and beyond ‘providing an activity’ and work hard at developing their club and their sport. The club provides fully open and inclusive community boccia sessions where anyone is welcome. The focus is not just on sport and competition, at ILP Boccia Club the sessions are fun, social and enjoyable. The Club developed from small beginnings, starting in a local community centre the club now runs two sessions a week with 20 – 30 regular players attending every week. These are impressive numbers and within 2017 alone 117 different people took part in weekly Boccia sessions. Alongside the club sessions volunteers often go into the community to provide Boccia to those who cannot access a formal club. The club has also recently organised tournaments for teams from around the region to compete in. ILP not only have a very strong club but their work in the local community will allow Boccia to reach many more people.