By David Gold

Boccia_action_12-08-11August 12 - The CPISRA Boccia World Cup gets underway next week in Ulster's Jordanstown Campus as athletes hope to book their place at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The event, which is due to take place btween August 18 and 26, is the first pre-Games tournament taking place in Northern Ireland, and is organised by the University of Ulster, Disability Sports Northern Ireland and GB Boccia.

It is funded by UK Sport, Sport Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Newtownabbey Borough Council, and 500 athletes, coaches and officials will be there to take part in the event, which is expected to generate in excess of £1 million ($1.63 million/€1.14 million) for the local economy.

Tickets are available for first and second sessions for the competition, and will be free of charge, allocated to individuals and groups by Disability Sports NI on a first come, first served system.

The aim of Boccia is to get your balls closer to the white jack than your opponent.

It requires precision and strategic thought and is one of the fastest growing games in Paralympic Sport, taking place in more than 50 countries, officials claim.

Competitors can earn crucial ranking points at the event to enable them to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympics.

Kevin O'Neill, Director of Disability Sports NI, said: "The event will be a great spectacle and the fact it is being hosted in Northern Ireland will undoubtedly help raise public awareness of disability sport.

"Over the last ten years, we have worked hard at developing the sport of Boccia in Northern Ireland and as a result the sport is now widely played at a recreational level throughout the country by people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.

"However the next stage is to develop a squad system and performance pathway for young people who show some talent in the sport, and we are confident we can achieve this as a direct legacy of the Boccia World Cup."

Tickets can be booked through Disability Sports NI at 028 9038 7062 and textphone 028 9038 7064.

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