A graduate from the University of Lincoln has been called up to the England Futures Squad for Boccia.
Lee Croker, who was born in Sleaford, started playing Boccia at St George’s Academy in Sleaford when he was 14-years-old and was scouted for the Knights Academy in Sheffield, where he continued to play the sport which has gained in popularity during recent Paralympic Games.
Boccia is a precision-based Paralympic sport which is played indoors on a court similar in size to that used for badminton. It tests muscle control and accuracy, with a high level of concentration required, and is played by athletes with an impairment and conditions that affect all four of their limbs.
Lee, 23, is classified as a BC3 athlete which means he uses a ramp to propel the ball onto court with the support of a sports assistant to help him.
He trained alongside his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and continued to play the sport throughout his time at university. Lee also received a sports scholarship from the University of Lincoln which helped fund new equipment, as well as competing in the Boccia Super League for Sheffield.
The MSc Sport Science and BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science graduate has now taken another big step in his career.
Lee said: “I was excited and relieved that I was chosen for the squad as it meant all my training and hard work had paid off.
“The England Futures team meet up four times a year at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium which is the birthplace of the Paralympics. There I received the best coaching currently available from Boccia England.
“My time at the University of Lincoln was invaluable. The support I received through not only the sports scholarship they offered, but throughout my undergraduate and postgraduate study too.”
Thomas Gee, Programme Leader at School of Sport and Exercise Science at University of Lincoln, said: “Lee was a dedicated athlete during his time at Lincoln and was awarded a sports scholarship over three consecutive years for this performance in Boccia.
“Lee was part of the Boccia England Talent pathway and competed in the Boccia Super League for Sheffield. He was successful increasing his national ranking during his time at Lincoln.”
Sandy Willmott, Associate Professor and Programme Leader at School of Sport and Exercise Science, said: “It has been fantastic to work with Lee and see his development as a sport science practitioner, with a particular interest in sports psychology.
“We are delighted that he will continue to apply that knowledge in supporting his own preparation for Boccia and more widely within the sport.”