PACE athlete success at the Boccia England National Finals

Published May 5, 2015

Congratulations to the four PACE Boccia athletes that qualified to represent PACE at this year’s Boccia England National Finals.

The competition took place on the 25th-26th of April, at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.

Jagjit Chuk, a BC3 classified veteran of the competition, made his way up to Sheffield with his new boccia ramp, which he has been working hard to fundraise for. Having trained for a few months with his new ramp, the improvement in his play was clear as he forced England Lions athlete Lewis Fisher into a tie-break. Unfortunately, Jagjit didn’t beat the experienced Debbie Carsberg and was unable to qualify from his group. Reflecting on the competition, Jagjit said he’d like to train more and… “work on getting his first ball on”.

Jamie Keat, our 10 year old BC3 athlete, made his first appearance at National level. Playing with no pressure, he took a point off an England international, Cecilia Turk, in his first game. A remarkable achievement, considering her years of experience at the top, nobody else in his group was able to take any points off of her. He unfortunately lost his second group game against England Lions athlete, Lee Madison, however remained in positive spirits, which showed as he cruised to a 9-2 victory in his final game against Thomas Jackson. Despite this victory, Jamie was unable to qualify from his group. However, he turned many heads with his positive, decisive performances along the way.

Reshad, in the BC2 classification, started the competition off with a comfortable victory in his first group stage fixture against Daisy Nash. Despite winning 11-1, he was unhappy with his performance and was hoping to score more, to cement his place at the top of the group. With a long break between fixtures, Reshad had to wait 6 hours before his next match against Alex Elliot, which finally arrived as the last fixture of the day. When the fixture arrived, Alex put in a fantastic performance to beat Reshad, sending him home in second place in his group.

Thanks to his big win earlier on, Reshad qualified for the knockout stages, where he met Alex again in the quarter final. There were no mistakes this time as he comfortably beat her 7-3, booking himself a semi-final appearance against England International, David Hill. An extremely tight match of boccia followed. With the game at 4-4, Reshad played the crucial shot under pressure in a tie-break and managed to get onto the Jack perfectly, taking the game just beyond David. An appearance in the final against William Hipwell was his reward. William has recently been selected to represent GB Boccia, however this didn’t phase Reshad as he stuck to his gameplan and played with confidence, attacking William and going for the win. Two missed shots unfortunately cost Reshad in the final, as he lost the game 4-1 and finished in second place, claiming a silver medal. Despite being disappointed about just missing out on gold, this was a fantastic turnaround and a well deserved medal for Reshad.

The PACE Boccia Captain and BC1 athlete, Alex Dukes, had a tournament that typified his ability and mindset. Alex has recently been working hard on his release, changing his technique and refining it to minimise the curl on his throws and maintaining a straight line. He went into the competition slightly nervous and under pressure, with his place in the England Lions squad under threat if he failed to put in a performance. Alex’s response was to win his first two games against Susie Herbert and Holly Goodwyn, 9-0 and 6-2 respectively. Despite picking up an injury along the way, Alex decided to carry on playing, but was unable to beat Beth Moulam in his final group game of the tournament. Thanks to his high scoring games earlier in the group, Alex finished in second place in his group, qualifying for the next round of the competition.

The quarter-final was against Richard Armstrong, an athlete Alex hadn’t played before. The match was incredibly tight, with Alex’s injury affecting his release, he struggled to get all of his balls into play within the time limit. Despite this, Alex managed to play enough effective shots to scrape his way through into the semi-final with a 3-2 win. In the semi-final against Beth Moulam, his injury was clearly affecting his performance, taking him almost two minutes to release a ball. Another extremely tight match, Alex managed to maintain his composure and win on a tie-break, booking a place in the final against David Smith, World Number 1 ranking athlete. Having played Paralympic gold medallist, David Smith before, Alex knew he was in for a tough game. He was beaten by David in the final of the competition, but left the court proud of his performances over the weekend.

Some fantastic results and a record number (four) of PACE athletes qualifying for the National Finals shows the progress they’ve made as a squad over the last year. As a result of their successes, Reshad and Alex have also qualified for the GB Championships, which will take place in Stirling, Scotland.

After the competition, PACE Boccia Head Coach, Sunil, said…

The four PACE Boccia athletes have done incredibly well at this competition. They’ve been 100% focussed on getting a performance out of themselves and maintaining a positive mindset. The medals are just a reward for their hard work. I’m incredibly pleased that for the third year running, PACE will be represented at the GB Championships. Thank you to everybody who has supported and motivated our athletes along the way.


2 Responses to “PACE athlete success at the Boccia England National Finals”

  1. Sunil May 5, 2015

    Congratulations to everybody!

  2. Krishna May 7, 2015

    Congratulations Alex, Reshad, Jagjit and Jamie, we are all very proud of you. Keep the medals rolling in……..Well Done!