"Player numbers are still recovering as people return to competition following the Covid pandemic, but the bocce competition went really well,” says Chris Moffitt, Event Manager for Bocce at the Games.
“Setting the portable courts up was incredibly simple and the feedback from athletes and volunteers who played on the courts were that they played nicely.”
This year’s event was the second consecutive Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games to use Packabocce courts, following a first appearance in 2017. Some of the courts from the 2017 Games have been used by Special Olympics clubs for bocce events in their home regions and were brought to Hamilton to be used once again this year.
Mr Moffitt says bocce is loved by participants and is seen as a strategically important sport for Special Olympics New Zealand’s programme due to its accessibility to people of all ages.
“I’m a bit of a crusader for bocce. It’s an easy sport for young people to get cracking with if they are new to Special Olympics and an easy sport to continue with once athletes get older and their physical ability declines.”
In future many of New Zealand’s Special Olympics clubs hope to take the sport into schools for unified competitions that see athletes with and without intellectual disabilities competing together on the same court.
“If you have a portable Packaworld bocce kit sitting in the back of the car it makes it easy to take it to schools or events and just inflate it when you’re ready to play. It means we won’t need a set all-weather venue – we can use the portable courts indoors, outdoors or wherever.”
Packaworld Chief Executive Peter Roberts congratulated Special Olympics New Zealand on an exceptionally well run National Games that united hundreds of athletes in the joy of sport.
“It’s always a buzz to see the courts used on the big stage in New Zealand, where our Packaworld journey first started. We created the Packabocce courts because we saw an opportunity to help organisers take the game to new people and locations and it’s truly humbling to see them now being used at the highest level in all corners of the globe.”
Packaworld launched Packabocce courts in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2013. In the years since, the portable 60-foot by 12-foot competition courts they have been used at Special Olympics State Games in the USA, National Games across Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and Regional Games in Latin America.
In 2023 they are expected to grace the biggest stage of all when they are used at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany.
> Find out more about our portable bocce courts on our Packabocce product page.
Opening Ceremony: Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games
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