Thanks to Sport Singapore’s efforts in promoting para-sports, the paralympic sport boccia is gradually making its way into the heartlands.
Sport Singapore's ActiveSG is introducing easy-to-play para-sports at community care centres. Photo: Sport Singapore
In line with the Disability Sports Master Plan, Sport Singapore is introducing easy-to-play para-sports to the beneficiaries of community care centres.
In its pilot programme, Sport Singapore is working together with St. Hilda’s Community Services to introduce boccia to its centres, providing its elderly citizens with an additional recreational activity that is safe and easy to pick up.
“After we implemented the Disability Sports Master Plan, we didn’t just want to get more people with disabilities to pick up sport, but we wanted members of the public to know more about para-sports as well,” said Stefanie Ang, Senior Executive, ActiveSG Para (Disability) Sports department, Sport Singapore.
“Boccia is easier for seniors to pick up as compared to athletics and swimming and activity centres can easily pick it up because it can be modified to suit different situations and venues.”
Participants during a boccia training demonstration. Photo: Sport Singapore
Ang and her team also started the ‘Train-the-Trainer’ programme, which helps equip community care centre managers and staff with the knowledge of the sport and equipment loans.
Besides boccia, the team is making plans to introduce other sports such as table tennis.
“We’re not just looking at boccia alone, but sports that can be easily modified to suit the care centres and the mobility of the seniors,” added Ang, who is trained in boccia.
St. Hilda’s Community Services centre manager Dan Ong welcomed the programme as it will “give a fresh look of activities in and around the centre.”
The 52-year-old said: “When something new is introduced, the elderly are interested and at the same time, curious, because they will wonder how they can go about participating.
Sports like Boccia allows for social interaction and creates a sense of bonding with fellow participants. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Sports is also useful because it allows for interaction between the elderly and this can give them a family-bonding kind of atmosphere.”
Prior to the programme, Ong had not known about boccia.
“Now that I know about it, it makes me excited because it’s really suitable with what we do here at care centres and it’s gives a kind of pressure that can keep the mind focused.
“The pressure is good. Because it keeps the mind going. Cognitively, it helps us folks to work our brain.”