A DISABLED sportsman is celebrating being picked for England.
Chris Jackson, who plays a bowls game called boccia, is to represent his country at tournaments in Oslo and Prague.
“I’ve been playing the game since I was 10 years old,” said the 22-year-old, from Carrville, Durham City.
“It was always my dream to get into the national team, so I am delighted to be selected.”
Chris suffers from muscular dystrophy, which means he is confined to a wheelchair.
“I have enough movement in my hands to steer the chair,” he said.
A probe attached to his headgear is used to release the balls.
“It’s like bowls, so there is a white target ball and the idea of the game is to get the balls as close to it as possible.”
Chris needs the help of his mother Bernadette to play.
“I load the balls and he tells me where to aim the ramp,” she said. “We are like a team.
“There are six balls which have to be played in six minutes.
“It might sound like a strange thing to hear, but it can be quite exhausting keeping up with the clock.” Chris trains on his own at the Belmont Community Centre and he has set up a club which meets regularly at the Freeman’s Quay Leisure Centre in Durham City.
“The staff there have been really helpful in getting the club up and running,” said Chris’s father Gary. “We can’t thank them enough, and there are now about 10 regular players.
“Lots of people have never heard of boccia.
“Anyone who wants to give it a try is welcome to get in touch.”
The club can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.