Brothers Danny and Keegan Byrne practice boccia at a Warrnambool scout hall twice a week.
Danny, 34, won a silver medal at the Victorian titles last weekend and is striving to make the Australian team for the 2016 Rio de Janerio Paralympics.
Keegan, 21, is his coach.
“It’s good fun. I get to boss him around and as soon as we get home the older brother goes back to bossing me around,” Keegan said.
Danny has cerebral palsy and relies on a motorised wheelchair for mobility.
He took up boccia, a tinkered version of the European game bocce, about two years ago.
“It’s fun. It’s a sport I can do,” Danny said.
And he has excelled. His silver medal at the state titles booked him a spot at the Boccia Australia national titles in Sydney in late April.
Danny won his three preliminary games at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre 7-2, 7-2 and 10-2.
The Warrnambool man’s semi-final was a thriller against Hamilton’s Tommy Kenny, which Danny won 3-2, earning him a spot in the gold medal play-off.
The grand final was tied at 2-all.
Danny collected the silver medal after losing a tie-break.
“He’s the only boccia player in Warrnambool who is represented in competition,” Keegan said.
“Danny goes over and trains with (Kenny) in Hamilton once a fortnight, so that’s the only competition practice he gets.”
The top three place-getters at the state titles earned spots on the Victorian team for the nationals.
Keegan said Danny would compete in the BC2, a class for athletes who can throw unassisted.
“They run a team event, which runs over the first day, then a pairs event and then a singles event runs over the last 2½ days,” he said.
“Danny will be in all three of those because he was runner-up in the throwers’ category.
Keegan said there was a slight difference between bocce and boccia.
“The only difference is the playing surface and the balls themselves,” he said.
“Instead of outdoors on dirt, you play indoors on a hard floor (in boccia) and instead of metal or wooden balls, you use leather balls.”
Danny has caught the eye of national selectors.
“He is currently in the shadow squad for the Paralympic squad,” Keegan said.
“They’ve got six competitors in the Paralympic squad in the BC2 and basically the next best six are in the shadow squad, which is basically your emergencies.
“The aim this year is to go up to nationals, win more games and try and cement a spot in the first squad and, if that happens, he could end up going to some international comps and eventually through to Rio, which would be good.”
To follow Byrne’s dream or offer financial support, visit his Facebook page “Danny’s road to the Paralympics”.