Fay Hart embraces new love for sport as climb up boccia ranks continues

Having previously disliked the sport at school, Hart rediscovered boccia as an adult and never looked back

Fay Hart is now one of the most promising prospects in British boccia
Fay Hart is now one of the most promising prospects in British boccia

By Oli Dickson Jefford

Fay Hart’s boccia journey has taken her from playing at her local club to becoming one of Britain’s best up-and-coming players.

The Oxted star initially played the sport at school, but was not initially hooked on it and did not look to pursue it at any high standard.

However, after leaving home following her university degree, Hart wanted a new challenge and decided to join a new club at a social level.

And after struggling at first, Hart now finds herself competing domestically and says her self-belief has never been higher.

“When I first started I could barely throw a ball at all,” said Hart, who is supported by SportsAid and Aldi and was speaking ahead of SportsAid Week 2023.

“To the level that I am now, I’ve come a lot further than that and I’ve competed as part of Boccia England - I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I initially wanted a hobby and I started to improve, and I thought I wanted a bit more of this. I did some research into what the competitive options were and I decided to give this a go and see where it takes me.

“I have to say as I’ve progressed my confidence has improved. Being slightly older as an athlete, you worry you’re not going to get the same opportunities. The good thing with boccia compared to other sports is that there’s no other real age limits.

“There’s a lot of scope for improvement regardless of age.”

SportsAid Week 2023 is here, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.

This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.

The theme of ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ is an opportunity for the charity’s partners to highlight their own work in this area during SportsAid Week.

The nature of Hart’s disability means that she would struggle with other sports, and she believes boccia allows her to express herself in a way no other sport could.

“It’s really great that boccia is such an inclusive and accessible sport. With the disabilities that I have, there aren’t any sports that are accessible to me,” added Hart, who is funded by SportsAid and commercial partner Aldi.

“There’s eight overall classification and there are four competitive ones that are on the Paralympic and England one. Some people throw the ball, some people use a ramp and it’s really good to see that whatever disability you have, everyone’s got the opportunity to have a go which I really like.

“No other sports are accessible to the level that boccia is and I don’t think any other sport would be as satisfying as boccia is as I’d need more physical support to access it.

“I like to focus on the things I can do, not the things I can’t, and boccia allows me to do that. It puts me on a level playing field as much as possibly feasible.”

SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk