Sutton council worker to officiate at London Paralympic games

Two Nottinghamshire County Council workers have been provisionally selected as national officials for one of the most accessible sport at London 2012.

County Hall sports development officer Pete Edwards and equality officer Maggie Else are set to become National Technical Officials for Boccia at London 2012 and will take part in activities such as line judging and timing.

Boccia has been a Paralympic sport since 1984, and can be played at an elite level by people with some of the most testing disabilities.

Boccia players, who compete individually or in teams, throw leather balls (either red or blue) as close as they can to a white jack target ball to get as close to the jack as possible to win the game. Players with severe disabilities use a ramp as an assistive device.

Once official selection has been approved, Pete and Maggie will be accommodated at the Paralympic Village in London during the Games and will take part in a series of training and test events in the run-up to the contest.

Both have been ambassadors for the sport for many years, helping set up and manage Boccia clubs in communities across the county and at the annual Nottinghamshire Youth Games, and are delighted to have been provisionally selected.

Pete (57), from Sutton, coaches Boccia at Rainworth Leisure Centre each week and volunteers many hours to the sport which he first got involved in more than 25 years ago.

He said: “It was fantastic to receive the letter to say I had been provisionally selected to officiate at the Paralympics. Yes, there will be a huge responsibility but at the same time it is a fantastic opportunity to further promote and raise awareness of this fantastic sport.

Pete, who is a wheelchair user, has battled with Calve Perthes disease since his childhood, which caused extensive damage to one of his legs. He then lost his good leg in a mining accident while working as a belt fitter s supervisor in Nottinghamshire some years ago and changed careers to become a sports development officer championing sport for people with disabilities in particular.

Maggie, from Papplewick, works in equality at County Hall, and is a Director of Boccia England, a national charity and the governing body of the sport whose headquarters are in Nottingham. She said: “It will be an honour to be involved in officiating at the Paralympics and I am looking forward to it.”

Boccia is one of three Paralympic sports that have no counterpart in the Olympic programme.

As part of their agreement to take on the role, Pete and Maggie must take part as timers and line judges in the English National Team and Pairs event on 24th March, and the LOCOG Boccia Test Event from 4th to 7th May.

They must also take part in an international friendly competition from June 22 to 24 and may be asked to officiate at other regional and national competitions. The Boccia Paralympic competition dates are 30th August to 9th September and will take place in the ExCel arena in London.