Jakub in national spotlight

Jakub boccia
Jakub boccia

A DISABLED Pendle youngster who plays boccia has qualified to play in a national event later this year.

Jakub Drozdzowski (14), from Nelson, has duchene muscular dystrophy. He will take part in the boccia nationals in May at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

Jakub, along with fellow members of the Pendle boccia team, competed in the Northern championships in Liverpool in early December.

The youngsters were identified as talented in the sport through Lancashire’s Sports Playground to Podium initiative. It was important that they had the opportunity to compete in this high level competition.

Barbara Atkinson, from the Pendle Schools Sports Partnership, said: “I’d firstly like to congratulate Jakub on qualifying for the boccia nationals. He has only been playing the sport a short time and this is a real achievement for him.

“I’d also like to thank Lancashire County Council’s Disability Champion, County Coun. Carolyn Evans, for giving us a grant of £200 which helped us with the petrol costs of travelling to Liverpool. Transport is always an issue as the youngsters need their power chairs.

“With Coun. Evans’s help, we were able to take youngsters and their parents to this prestigious event.”

Coun. Evans said: “The Pendle boccia club is a fabulous organisation which the parents and volunteers can be rightly proud of.

“As a lover of sport myself and in my role of champion for disabled people in Lancashire, I was only too happy to be able to help.

“The tournament in Liverpool wasn’t just successful for the team, Jakub gave a magnificent account of himself and I look forward to hearing how well he does in Sheffield.”

Boccia is a sport for all but is one of just three Paralympic sports that does not have an Olympic equivalent; and is played at this level by athletes in wheelchairs with severe disabilities.

Boccia is a strategic target sport requiring skill, accuracy, mental toughness and an ability to think clearly and execute tough shots when under pressure.

It is similar to bowls or boules, with the principal aim to get your balls closer to ‘the jack’ than your opponent, using a high level of technical skill to apply match-winning tactics.

Boccia is a mixed event with male and female athletes playing alongside and against each other in pairs, teams and individual matches. It is played indoors on a court which is roughly the size of a badminton court.

More than 100 countries have national boccia programmes and Great Britain is one of the world leaders with two medals at the London Paralympics.