Home Sport Meet Kimberley’s Boccia ‘breker’

Meet Kimberley’s Boccia ‘breker’

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Provincial Boccia player Zonian Bosman set for sun, surf and fun in the Cape – Oh, and a medal would be nice too.

Zonian Bosman will represent his province, his family, his school, and the home he stays in when he attends the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships in Cape Town. He is seen with his mentor and teacher, Johan van Heerden. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“This will be my first time ever going to Cape Town, and it will also be the first time I see the sea.”

Those were the words of 18-year-old Zonian Bosman, who is currently representing his province, his family, his school, and the home he stays in at the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships that started on Wednesday, March 15, and runs until Wednesday, March 22, in Cape Town.

A total of 30 athletes from Elizabeth Conradie School in Kimberley will be representing their province at the competition and Zonian is proud to be in that group.

Speaking to the DFA at Sally Aucamp Home for the Physically Disabled, Zonian said that he started playing Boccia – a game similar to lawn bowls – last August, and not long after he started playing, he was chosen to take part in a provincial tournament, where he achieved second place.

Now I know … this is the first time I have heard about Boccia as well, but I learned that the principles are much the same as bowls, with some tweaks here and there. Digging a bit deeper, as my curiosity was prickled, I learned that the game is both challenging and rewarding.

Boccia is a fascinating sport that requires precision, skill, and strategy. It is a game that originated in ancient Greece and was later adapted by the Italians. Today, it is played by athletes with physical disabilities around the world. In fact, the game was developed for wheelchair users and is a competitive Paralympic sport.

What makes Boccia bowls unique is their inclusive nature. Unlike many other sports, Boccia can be played by individuals with a wide range of physical abilities. It is a sport that truly levels the playing field, allowing athletes with disabilities to compete at the highest level.

Another aspect of Boccia that sets it apart is its emphasis on strategy.

While the game may appear simple at first glance, there is a great deal of skill involved in accurately placing the ball and anticipating your opponent’s next move. As such, Boccia bowls require not only physical prowess but also mental agility.

Boccia bowling is a sport that fosters a sense of community and camaraderie. Players often form close bonds with one another and with their coaches, creating a supportive environment that is both inclusive and uplifting.

Zonian told the DFA that this will be the first national event he will be participating in. “More than 60 athletes will compete in the Boccia event, and I am hoping to make a name for our province, my school, Elizabeth Conradie, and the home I am staying in, Sally Aucamp. I also want to make my family proud and show others that my disability will not hold me back,” he said.

The young athlete explained to the DFA how it came about that he became disabled saying that at just four months old, he had to undergo an operation on his intestines at the then-Kimberley Hospital. He said that the doctor who operated on him cut him on the wrong side and caused him to go into uncontrollable spasms.

“I have now been in my wheelchair for 18 years. I can’t walk, and the spasms are so strong that I need to be buckled down in my wheelchair,” he said. “But the medication that I take really does help to make it much less,” he added.

Zonian says that his rapid rise in the sport came thanks to some incredible people who helped him along the way.

“I only knew a little about the game, but then Johan van Heerden, who is a physical education teacher at Elizabeth Conradie School, started taking me under his wing to show me the finer details of the game as well as how the strategic part of the game works,” Zonian said.

The DFA spoke to Van Heerden who said that he saw lots of potential in Zonian. “I saw that he has what it takes, and I wanted to give him more than an opportunity to take part in this sport.”

“I recently played against para-sport star Elanza Jordaan, who scooped top honours at the World Boccia Africa Regional Championship, which was held in Johannesburg last year. She is a very good player as she has been playing for many years,” said Zonian.

During that competition in Bloemfontein last year, Zonian said that Elanza beat him 11-0, and when the people at his school found this out, he gained a new nickname, “half past eleven.”

Zonian could not keep in his laugh about his nickname and says that he finds it too funny when people walk past him and call him ‘half-past eleven’. But he says that he is really looking forward to his trip to Cape Town.

“I want to be able to go to the sea, and take a swim in the ocean, see new places, and meet new people, I am really excited,” he said, adding that he would like to win a medal if possible, but quickly added that the experience that he will gain at that event will mean more to him than a medal around his neck.

Meanwhile, Eve Brevis, matron of Sally Aucamp, told the DFA that they are extremely proud of Zonian.

“I call him my ‘Baby’. He is a real star and such a positive young man. So many young people can learn from Zonian.

“He proves that his disability does not slow him down and that by going forward, he can make something of himself.”

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