Crossgar Man Wins Silver In British Polio Games

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Northern Ireland has claimed the runner-up spot in the Boccia Class 1 at National Indoor Games.

There was a record attendance for the second year running at The British Polio Fellowship’s Leicester-based events as  Crossgar man Joe McVeigh secured silver in the Boccia Class 1 at Games held at the Leicester Marriott Hotel from 17-19 March.

Joe McVeigh said he was delighted to win a silver medal and added: “I’ve played boccia in the Northern Ireland’s disabled sports league now for three years now and really enjoy it. The league runs from October to March so it gives me something to do in the winter months.

“We went over on St Patrick’s day. There were around 20 competitors altogether and their supporters who went on the three day event. Alan Weir from Glengormley won a gold in a different boccia section and Eddie McCrory from Carryduff also won a bronze in bowls. Overall we did quite well.

Crossgar bocci player Joe McVeigh with his silver medal, left, and Dr Dirk Pilat FRCGP, Medical Director for E-Learning of the RCGP at The British Polio Fellowship National Indoor Games in Leicester.

“The trip was part subsidised by the British Polio Fellowship but we have to raise a fair bit of the £7000 needed by ourselves. We ran quite a few fundraisers and even got permission to fundraise in the airport on the day we were travelling.

“I will be going back again next year hopefully and if all goes swell will bring back a gold medal to Crossgar. I played in six rounds altogether in the games but the gold medalist from England was definitely on form. He has been playing for a long time and is very experienced.

“It was a great weekend and good to see so many people participating in these competitive games.”

The games started on Saturday 18 March and saw those living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) compete against one another in 11 different events, with nine disciplines in total allowing wheelchair users and people with other mobility issues to take part. With a record attendance for the second year running, The British Polio Fellowship’s CEO, Ted Hill MBE says the Games are all about forging new friendships whilst reinforcing old ones.

“I would like to congratulate Joe on claiming silver in Boccia Class 1 at the Indoor Games,” said Ted. “As always, the Games proved a close contest between the different regions participating, with great fun had by all involved. No one connected to the charity underestimates the importance of the Games, as it’s one the main dates in our calendar where members from across the UK get to meet up and socialise. Everyone involved in The British Polio Fellowship supports one another, and the Games is one of the main ways to do that.”

A record 235 people involved at this year’s Games as either competitors, officials or helper, arrived at the Leicester Marriott Hotel where eleven events were competed in: Scrabble; Cribbage; Darts Standing; Darts Sitting; Bowls; Boccia Class 1; Boccia Class 2; Dominoes; Kurling; 5’s and 3’s; and Draughts.

At the awards dinner on Saturday evening, trophies and medals were awarded by Dr Dirk Pilat FRCGP, Medical Director for E-Learning of the RCGP. Dirk was present at the Games to help announce the RCGP and The British Polio Fellowship’s new course designed to raise awareness of PPS amongst GP’s.

The course launches formally on the RCGP eLearning platform on 1 May:

http://elearning.rcgp.org.uk/course/search.php?search=polio