Ulster boccia squad’s Scott hones skill at Brownlow
01/10/2014A Rathfriland man who joined a sport and leisure club two years ago is aiming for the next Paralympic Games.
Scott Cromie is a member of the Disability Sport NI project at Craigavon Leisure Centre and is now one of Northern Ireland’s elite boccia players.
“Boccia is a fun game that can be played by anyone at a recreational level but is also an elite sport played by people with a high level of physical disabilities in the Paralympics,” explains Colleen Murray, Inclusive Sports and Leisure Officer at the Leisure Centre. “It is an ideal inclusive sport as physical strength is not as important as accuracy and strategy.”
As a member of the Ulster boccia squad, Scott trains once a month in the Valley Leisure Centre Newtownabbey. Scott had played boccia at school and was re-introduced to the game through the Sport and Leisure Club at Craigavon Leisure Centre by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s Community Access Officer Wendy Lappin.
Wendy says: “The club was established after consultation with the service users. Colleen has developed the club with the assistance of a volunteer to provide a range of sports to eight individuals. With funding from the cross-border organisation Co-operation and Working Together, the group has been able to participate in activities they never had the opportunity to experience before including archery, badminton, boxercise, sailing, orienteering, fishing and, of course, boccia.
“Sport can have a huge impact for people with disabilities by giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential which has been the case for Scott. He is a great role model to any players with the ambition to take up the sport and especially those who wish to play at elite level.”
Scott adds: “I was referred to the Ulster Squad in April 2013 by Colleen and I competed successfully in the Irish Championships in September the same year. I attended squad sessions in Dublin and my first international competition with Ireland was against Wales in Cardiff. In May this year, I was part of the first team from Northern Ireland to compete in the GB Boccia Championships and we finished in ninth position overall after playing against former World and Paralympic medallists. This was a fantastic achievement.”
In his spare time, Scott is a huge Ulster Rugby fan and he goes to Ravenhill as often as he can to support the team. Scott is particularly proud of his brother Cameron who is a member of the Ulster Rugby Squad.
“Sport is important in our family and I’ve always been inspired by Cameron who supports me in my matches. I was fortunate to play for Ireland in the European Open in Wigan in May this year. We had matches against Great Britain, Poland, Slovakia and Scotland. That was fantastic. In the domestic league, I captained the Craigavon Jacks to the inaugural Ulster Boccia League Title in March earlier this year. We really had a thrilling victory in the last end beating a very talented Fermanagh team. My goal is to qualify for the Paralympics in 2016 or 2020 and to win the Irish Title.”
Scott has been awarded funding from the Mary Peters Trust, provided to the most talented young athletes in Northern Ireland, to help with travel and training costs. Scott’s talent and the support he has from the Ulster Boccia squad and the Craigavon Boccia Club may help him realise his goals.
Craigavon Boccia Club meets in Brownlow Community Hub fortnightly on Thursday from 8-9pm and welcomes new members. For more information or to register your interest, contact Colleen Murray, Inclusive Sports and Leisure Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 028 3834 1333 or text 07769 250 885.
Rathfriland man and Ulster Squad boccia player Scott Cromie with volunteer Connor Campbell, Southern Trust Community Access Officer Wendy Lappin and Colleen Murray, Inclusive Sports and Leisure Officer at Craigavon Leisure Centre