By Tum Balogun, Sportsbeat
Oxted boccia star Fay Hart wants to catapult the profile of her sport to the next level ahead of a jam-packed few weeks of competition.
The 32-year-old bagged a brilliant bronze in last year’s Boccia England Back to Boccia Cup to follow up her top ten displays at national events in 2020.
And those exploits helped fire her towards becoming a member of Aldi’s Rising Stars programme, an initiative that supports 20 young athletes by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs, while also delivering personal development opportunities to many athletes through workshop sessions.
Hart began her love affair with boccia after seeking a hobby when at university and now hopes she can fly the flag for the sport on the global stage.
We’re so excited to see two of our Rising Stars in the Commonwealth Games! Good luck to Jade Atkin & Tyler Baines who are both competing in 3x3 Wheelchair Basketball this year 🏀 We know you’ll do us proud! pic.twitter.com/xeaaMPv8Jl
— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) July 28, 2022
She said: “[Boccia] is basically like bowls for people with disabilities.
“It's not a very well-known sport but hopefully we're doing a bit more to bring it to the forefront now.
“I play for a couple of different clubs, I'm on the boccia England Futures Programme, which is for people who have been identified with potential to then take them a little bit further.
“So, I play with them, and I also play in the east Surrey area for local training and all of that, so I do play in lots of different areas really.
“There's a lot of single events in boccia but at the beginning of October, I've got a teams and pairs event."
As an Aldi Rising Stars athlete, Hart will receive financial support through Aldi as well as a monthly food voucher to fuel her through training, competitions and hopefully onto future Paralympic Games.
We already loved Birmingham, but now it's our favourite https://t.co/Ic2HCCEpos
— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) August 9, 2022
And speaking at a special Taste Kitchen workshop at Aldi HQ in Atherstone, Hart outlined how vital the funding and workshops are in her ongoing development.
She added: “When you’re with an organisation that’s so well-known it really helps with being able to manage and sustain your sport.
“Sometimes without support it's hard to keep up with what's expected of you financially and physically, so Aldi has such great resources as well which is helpful.
“They’ve provided me with a financial grant which I’m really grateful for and then obviously done various work throughout like the nutrition one we’ve had today.”
Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024