Muscular dystrophy and related conditions cause muscles to waste and weaken. More than 70,000 people in the UK are affected.
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Wednesday 18 April 2012

Boccia stars selected for London 2012 Paralympics

Boccia Paralympians Scott McCowan (left) and Jacob Thomas (middle)

Four professional athletes, diagnosed with different forms of muscular dystrophy, have been selected to represent Great Britain in the London 2012 Paralympics. Scott McCowan, Peter McGuire, Stephen McGuire and Jacob Thomas, who support the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, play the highly competitive sport of Boccia.

Boccia (pronounced 'Bot'cha) is a Paralympic sport, introduced in 1984, for athletes with disabilities that have a major impact on motor skills. While it has no Olympic counterpart it is a target ball sport similar to bowls, in which athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball, with the aim of getting closest to the 'jack' ball.

Scott who is 20 years old and was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of six started playing Boccia four years ago. Scott already a three-time Scottish National Champion, two times Scottish Open Champion, British Championships Silver medallist in 2011, is extremely delighted with the news that he will represent ParalympicsGB this 2012. He has come a long way since he first started, believing that it would be another sport he would not be able to play.

Don't ever think Boccia is something you won't be able to play, " said Scott. "I thought that and ended up missing out on a few good years before I started to play."

Team members Peter McGuire (29) and Stephen McGuire (27) have also been selected for the Paralympics having previously represented Great Britain in the European Championship in Portugal. Both brothers who have an undiagnosed form of muscular dystrophy could not be more excited about being selected for ParalympicsGB.

"Pete and I can't build muscle in our arms and, while we don't have much muscle strength, we work hard to maintain what we have," Stephen said. 

Jacob Thomas, who is studying sports science at Pembrokeshire College, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy shortly after birth. Jacob, now aged 17, was introduced to Boccia in Primary school. 

Scott McCowan

Since then Jacob has been hooked on the game tallying up an outstanding record by becoming Welsh Champion 2010 and 2011. Jacob has trained hard to represent the ParalympicsGB in London this year, is thrilled about being selected as it has always been his dream to play for Great Britain. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign will be cheering the boys on, supporting them in the London 2012 Paralympics.

Are you involved in the London 2012 Paralympics? You may be attending the games as a visitor, selected as a torchbearer or have dreams of representing your country at a future Paralympics or maybe you're coaching some future hopefuls in your area. The next edition of Target MD, due out in April 2012, will feature the Paralympics so we would love to hear your story, so email us at targetmd@muscular-dystrophy.org.

 

Tags: Articles of interest

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