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Evie Edwards
Paralympian visits sports centre to open new facility

A new sports facility for disabled athletes has been opened in Stowmarket with the help of a local Paralympian.

A new boccia court at Everyone Active’s Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre was officially opened on Tuesday (February 14th) by Paralympian, Evie Edwards.

Boccia is a precision ball sport, similar to bowls, and most commonly played by athletes with disabilities effecting their motor skills. It became a Paralympic sport more than 30 years ago, and Evie travelled to Rio last year to represent Team GB in the 2016 games.

Evie, who has TAR syndrome, is ranked fourth in world in the pair’s event. She won a silver medal in the European Championships in 2015 and narrowly missed out on a medal when making her Paralympic debut last year.

A boccia court has been marked out in the main sports hall at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre as part of a refurbishment carried out over Christmas. Evie, who studies at the University of Suffolk, was the first athlete to throw a ball onto the court and will now be using the centre to train.

“Having a boccia court available in Stowmarket will make it so much easier for me to train regularly,” said Evie. “I am determined to compete in the next Olympic Games, and to do this I need to ensure I’m constantly improving. Being able to train at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre will help me achieve this.”

Anselm Gurney, General Manager at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, said: “We’re delighted to have an athlete of Evie’s standard using the centre.

“I hope that by having this facility close by, we can help Evie achieve her dream of competing in Tokyo, as well as inspiring other local people to take up the sport.”