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Best boccia athletes in the province playing in Waterloo

The 2023 Ontario Boccia Championships were held in Waterloo this weekend.

Players from across the province faced off on the court at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Boccia is like bocce and similar to curling or lawn bowling.

However it’s been adapted for people with severe cerebral palsy or other physical challenges.

Each side has six balls and players propel them towards the target, also called a “jack” ball.

“The goal of the game is to get your ball closer to the jack,” said first-time participant Spencer Poeluev.

Spencer Poeluev at the Ontario Boccia Championships in Waterloo on July 16, 2023.

There are typically four or six ends to a game.

Boccia Canada says if players “can’t throw the ball, [they] can roll it or kick it. If a player cannot roll the ball or hit it with the foot, he/she can use a ramp. If he/she cannot release the ball with the hand, he/she can use the head or a hand pointer.”

“Depending on your function ability, there is a classification system to make sure that you’re competing against those who have similar functional movements so it’s not unfair for you,” explained Lance Cryderman.

He’s a Paralympian, accessibility advisor and coach for people living with cerebral palsy.

“There’s a lot of different parasports out there,” he added. “For someone with my level of function, you’re not going to see me on a wheelchair basketball court. It’s just not accessible for me. Boccia is the most inclusive sport for those of us with severe or significant challenges.”

Paralympian Lance Cryderman at the Ontario Boccia Championships in Waterloo on July 16, 2023.

Spencer Poeluev’s father was also at the competition Sunday, proudly cheering on his son.

“We heard about this program from KidsAbility.” said Yuri Poeluev. “Spencer loved it so we decided to go further.”

The championships ran from Friday to Sunday.

The event is held each year in communities across Ontario, giving athletes a chance to the play the best of the best in the sport. Top Stories

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