The new inflatable ‘Packabocce’ courts were designed by Packaworld to solve storage and transport issues, making it easier for a wider range of sportspeople and communities to enjoy the sport.
He said it was vital for more people to get involved in providing opportunities for unified sport, and urged people and organisations around the world to take responsibility for increasing participation in sport as a form of social investment for the future.
“Bocce is the perfect platform for athletes with a disability to participate on the world stage because it is based on skill rather than physical build or capability,” Mr Roberts said.
“The availability of portable courts that can be set up quickly anywhere there is a flat area will inspire people and programmes around the world to offer this inspirational sport.”
Special Olympics International Chief Executive Mary Davis said playing at the highest level enabled Special Olympics athletes to challenge the stigma associated with intellectual disability, and innovations enabling more people to participate had immense value for unified sport.
“Since their creation, these courts have helped people experience the power of sport by making a unified experience accessible. For our athletes, that is invaluable.
“Playing sport empowers people of all abilities to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. But for people with intellectual disabilities, sport is life-changing. Sport can break barriers and end prejudices, and sports like bocce that offer a level playing field are precious.”
The use of Packabocce courts at the Latin American Special Olympics follows a successful 24-court tournament at the 2013 Asia Pacific Special Olympics, held in the Australian state of New South Wales where the courts have left a lasting legacy.
Packaworld’s inflatable courts have recently featured across the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in America, and on the P&O Cruises fleet in Australia as part of a suite of inflatable recreation products. In addition to Packabocce courts, Packaworld produces a range of packable, portable products including inflatable advertising hoardings and sports goals.
Similar to English lawn bowls and French pétanque, bocce is a sport that can be played anywhere and anytime by anyone. Bocce originated in Italy, and the Romans, Egyptians and Greeks all played a form of the game, making it one of the world’s oldest sports.
The bocce event at the third Latin American Special Olympics Games will see over 100 athletes from 13 countries participate. The games will take place between 20 and 28 April.
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, every day, everywhere. It is the world’s largest sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities, with more than 4.7 million athletes in 169 countries -- and over a million volunteers.
Find out more at http://www.specialolympics.org.
ABOUT PACKAWORLD INTERNATIONAL LIMITED:
At Packaworld we’re mad about sport and passionate about play. It’s what makes sport fun, and a force that brings people together, to compete, to grow, to have a great time. But the ability to play in real game conditions is often hindered by limited access to decent facilities. We’re obsessed with making the joy of sport real to more people.
We believe everyone has the right to play, from athletes competing at the highest level to everyday people in their local neighbourhoods. We want to smash exclusion and let sport do its job, building strong local and global communities through the sheer fun of getting involved.
Through relentless innovation (and a touch of madness) we’ve created a range of inflatable sports goals and equipment that gives people the freedom to come together and play for real... real easy and real fast.
Watch Packabocce courts in action at the Asia-Pacific Special Olympics.