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The CPISRA 2011 Boccia World Cup has drawn to a close with the competition held at the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus described as the most successful ever.

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell MLA, brought the tournament to a close, a world-class event that welcomed more than 500 athletes, coaches and officials from 33 countries.

Korea won the overall World Cup trophy having emerged as the most successful nation, winning four individual medals as well as a team gold medal. The Boccia World Cup was also a qualifying event for the 2012 Paralympics.

Minister Bell said: “No one can fail to be impressed by the skill and talent shown by the athletes who have participated in the Boccia World Cup. This is the first time that this event has been held in the British Isles and Northern Ireland has again proven its capability to hold major, international sporting events. Northern Ireland certainly is a destination to visit, work, live and study. Credit must be given to the University of Ulster for their success in hosting the games and I wish all those competitors going forward to the London 2012 Paralympics every success.”

David Hadfield, Chairman of the Breat Britain Boccia Federation said: "The 2011 Boccia World Cup has been the most successful ever; I have been delighted by the welcome given to the competitors and spectators by the Borough of Newtownabbey and the City of Belfast. I do hope everyone has enjoyed watching the game played at the highest level as we all prepare for the Paralympic Games in London 2012.”

University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett, said: “Over the past week we have welcomed elite Boccia talent from across the globe and I congratulate you on making this competition one of the best that has ever been, with some of the highest standards of play and sportsmanship.

“This wonderful event will leave a lasting legacy for sport for those with disabilities by serving as a catalyst for the development of the sport in Northern Ireland and the involvement of people of all abilities in sport.

“Bringing the Boccia World Cup to the University of Ulster shows the lengths that we, along with our partner organisations, have gone to, to bring the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Northern Ireland.

“This has been a tremendously successful event for the University of Ulster and I would like to commend all of the dedication of the members of staff across all sections of the University, whose hard work has made this a truly world-class event in a world-class setting.”

The indoor 3G synthetic training area at the Jordanstown sports centre was transformed into a 12 court Boccia arena for the World Cup and as Angela Hendra, Chairperson of Disability Sports NI explains this competition will leave a sporting legacy in Northern Ireland.

She said: “The CPISRA Boccia World Cup has been a fantastic sporting spectacle. This is the first time that the event has been held anywhere in the British Isles, and with 500 athletes and coaches from 33 countries participating in the event, it is the largest international disability sports competition ever held in Northern Ireland. I am delighted then that Disability Sports NI has been able to play a part in hosting such an important and prestigious disability sports event.

“We are also pleased that the event will leave a genuine sporting legacy for Northern Ireland. Immediately after the Boccia World Cup, we have plans to launch four new regional Boccia development squads, each supported by qualified Boccia leaders and coaches, and each equipped with the international standard ‘Taraflex’ Boccia courts purchased for the Boccia World Cup.

“The legacy of the CPISRA Boccia World Cup, will then be to enable Disability Sports NI to provide talented young people with disabilities the opportunity to train, compete and excel in the sport of Boccia in years to come.”

The Boccia World Cup was organised by the University of Ulster, Disability Sports NI and GB Boccia.The competition is funded by UK Sport, Sport Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Newtownabbey Borough Council as well as Disability Needs NI and Deloitte.

Notes for editors:
Boccia is a target ball sport similar to bowls designed for people with high level of disability, which can be played as an individual, in pairs or as a three-a-side teamSimilar to bowls, the aim is to land six of your balls closer to the white target ball than the opponents' balls.Boccia is one of the fastest growing International and Paralympic Sports. Over 50 countries have local and / or national competitive programs.

CPISRA – Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association – is the international governing body for Boccia, as well as 7-a-side soccer and Race Runner