TWO-time Paralympic gold medallist Nigel Murray is the first to admit that boccia is not exactly the sexiest of sports – but he’s vowed to get the British public’s juices flowing at London 2012.
The 46-year-old has a trophy cabinet brimming with major honours, including world and European gold medals, while he recently took his British titles tally to 11.
Next on Murray’s radar is next month’s BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester where boccia will makes its debut in a bid to raise the sport’s public profile ahead of next summer’s London Paralympics.
While swimming, athletics and wheelchair basketball often hit the headlines when it comes to disability sport, Murray is the first to admit boccia is rarely afforded many column inches.
But the Leamington Spa ace is convinced more gold for Great Britain when the Paralympic torch lights up the capital can change all that.
“Boccia is a sport that’s played a great deal within schools and clubs but it isn’t considered as one of the sexy sports like basketball at the Paralympics,” said Murray, ranked number one in the world in the individual BC2 category.
“So playing at the Paralympic World Cup will hopefully raise the media profile of the sport and then hopefully we can do that even more at London 2012.
“Great Britain are real contenders on the world stage. I’m ranked number one in the world and as a team we’re ranked second behind Spain.
“The dream for me would be to go to London 2012 and end my career on a high – to end it with two gold medals would be lovely.”
While Murray’s boccia career is firing on all cylinders, he has recently been dealt a blow in his professional life with the news that he has been made redundant from his job with Stratford Community Support Services as a deputy manager supporting people with disabilities.
But Murray did reveal that could be a blessing in disguise, enabling him to focus full-time on boccia, rather than juggle a long-working week with his training.
“It’s never easy to be made redundant but it does mean that I don’t have to try and squeeze in my training around a 50-hour week of work,” he added.
“It means that I can train as and when I want and completely focus on the sport as we get closer and closer to the London 2012 Paralympics.”
n The BT Paralympic World Cup is taking place in Manchester from 23-28 May with elite international athletes competing in Swimming, Athletics and Wheelchair Basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for tickets and more information.Tags: Boccia, Nigel Murray, Paralympic World Cup, Paralympics, wheelchair basketball