Paralympic Games: Day 5

A beginner's guide to boccia

We're getting towards the halfway point of the Paralympic Games, but there's still plenty of new sports to experience and watch as the action continues.

The sport of boccia gets under way today at the ExCeL Centre and promises to provide tension and excitement - all while the competitors sit down!

But if you don't know much about the sport, don't worry - the experts from John Grant School in Norfolk have produced a video and have written a fantastic guide for newcomers to boccia that will tell you all you need to know!

As ever, School Reporters from around the UK have also been reporting on other Paralympic sports and athletes so read on to find out what other stories the pupils have focused on in such a historic year.

And pupils Marianna and Charmaine from St Angela's Ursuline School in Newham were live on BBC London this morning, talking about their experience of the Games, while other pupils have been sending in their updates and reflections from the Olympic Park as they soak up the atmosphere and action.


1107: School Reporter Kimberley from St Angela's Ursuline School

"The atmosphere here in the stadium is phenomenal, and the GB supporters are just amazing. The weather has made this day even better. It's a great experience seeing all the athletes competing, and it inspires me to carry on with my sporting hobbies. I'm proud to be British and to have watched the 2012 games live."

1100: School Reporter Charlotte from St Angela's Ursuline School

"Watching the Paralympic athletics. Enjoying all of the atmosphere at the stadium and having a great time."

1058: School Reporter Kieran from Southfields Community College

"The atmosphere and the view I have here are great. I am so lucky to have had the chance to see this historic event. The only bad thing is there are too many events going on at once!"

1050: School Reporter Sophie from St Angela's Ursuline School

"Watching the Paralympics in London, there's a great atmosphere and lots of support for team GB from everyone - loads of cheers."

1048: School Reporters Phoebe, Esme and Isobel from Blackheath High

"Amazing atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium; David Weir has just qualified in the 100m T53 heats!"

1044: School Reporter Carlos from Southfields Community College

"This is simply AMAZING! I had never thought of it like that. It's my first time here, and I am very glad I came: the atmosphere, the roars to the athletes, it's wonderful. I am really enjoying myself. There are so many good things going on, I just can't decide which one to look at. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give an 11!"

1040: School Reporter Marianna from St Angela's Ursuline School

"In the Olympic stadium, soaking up the atmosphere. Just about to watch the Men's 1500m T54 round 1 heat, so excited!"


School Reporters from St Angela's Ursuline School went live on BBC London

Two School Reporters from St Angela's Ursuline School in Forest Gate started their trip to the Olympic Park with a visit to the BBC London 94.9 studio.

Marianna and Charmaine went live on The Breakfast Show with Gabby Roslin and Paul Ross before heading to the Olympic Stadium to watch the athletics.

School Reporters Marianna and Charmaine learn about the art of being interviewed on live radio!

"When you see the athletes at Stratford station just getting the tube - it's ordinary people doing extraordinary things," said Charmaine.

"The atmosphere is great - it's great to be British at the moment!"


Image copyright School Report
Image caption Pupils from John Grant School measure the distance of the balls from the jack

Boccia is one of a select few sports in the Paralympic Games without an equivalent in the Olympics, so may be somewhat unfamiliar to some sports fans.

But fear not! School Reporters William, Chris, David and Casey from John Grant School in Norfolk - which has a lunchtime and after-school boccia club - are officials in the sport and can referee matches.

William, Chris, David and Casey have written a handy guide, explaining all the rules, tactics and skills you need to play boccia.

And you can see their brilliant video about the sport at the top of the page or by clicking here.


ParalympicsGB stars will be making a splash in the aquatics centre, with British hopefuls in the men's S7 100m freestyle among many other races.

Ellie Simmonds sets sights on more medals

But, almost inevitably, most of the attention from a British perspective will be focused on 17-year-old Ellie Simmonds - one of the stars of the 2008 Games in Beijing and now a gold medallist again after her superb swim in the 400m freestyle on Saturday again captured the nation's hearts.

Simmonds, who will be back in the pool today for the SM6 200m individual medley, told School Reporters from Thornden School in Hampshire about her medal winning hopes ahead of the start of the Games.

And she has also spoken to School Reporters in the past, answering questions set by pupils from Hamble College in Hampshire when she was a nominee for Young Sports Personality of the Year Award win in 2008 in a Q&A which revealed a possible future on The Great British Bake Off when she eventually hangs up her goggles!

"I have to eat very sensibly and have a balanced diet," she said. "(But) I miss cakes the most as I like baking!"

Also on a swimming note, ParalympicsGB's swimming success in Beijing inspired many young athletes.

School Reporter Will from Newcastle has been swimming regionally for the North-East disability squad and is hoping to be a part of ParalympicsGB in Rio 2016.

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