Gold medal winning Dunmow Paralympian looking to promote boccia with taster sessions in Saffron Walden

Double Boccia Paralympian Dan Bentley (Right) coaches participants at Lord Butler Leisure Centre

Double Boccia Paralympian Dan Bentley (Right) coaches participants at Lord Butler Leisure Centre - Credit: Archant

Taster sessions designed to introduce people to the sport of boccia are being held in Saffron Walden, with coaching provided from a double medal winning Paralympian.

Dan Bentley, 31, from Dunmow, who won gold in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic games and a bronze at London 2012, is hoping to encourage people to take up the sport and become more active.

The sessions are being supported by Active Uttlesford and Boccia England and will take place at Lord Butler Leisure Centre on Peaslands Road.

The next taster is scheduled for Tuesday, January 19 with an adult session from 2pm-3pm and a taster for children and young adults from 4pm-5pm.

Boccia is a precision ball sport, related to bowls or petanque, and can be played individually, in pairs, of in teams of three.

The sport was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy, but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills.

The sport’s popularity is growing and can be enjoyed by many sectors of the community, and Dan is hoping that the sessions will generate interest in the area.

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He said: “The idea is to get people familiar with the sport and introduce them to the rules and how to play. We are hoping that the tasters will prove popular and then we can look at running sessions on a more regular basis.

“Boccia can be enjoyed by many people in the community, and if these sessions at Saffron Walden are successful, then we may branch out to Dunmow in the future.”

Marc Scott, of Boccia England, said: “We are really keen to get these sessions off the ground and promote the sport in the local area.

With Dan being a Level 1 qualified coach and Paralympian, he is able to provide some expert advice to participants and we hope that people will come and enjoy themselves.

“Boccia probably does not get the publicity that other sports do and in the longer term we would like to get people playing in competitions and competing in local leagues.”