WARRNAMBOOL’S Danny Byrne hopes a bronze medal at boccia’s national titles will be a springboard to Rio’s 2016 Paralympics.
Byrne, Hamilton’s Tom Kenny and Melbourne’s John Richardson combined for the bronze medal in the precision ball sport, which is similar to bocce.
Competing in disability class two for players with cerebral palsy, Byrne produced some eye-catching performances under the guidance of his brother Keegan, the state team coach.
Byrne, who relies on a motorised wheelchair for mobility, had a personal training session with national coach Peter King during the titles as Australian team officials scouted for players before the Paralympics.
Boccia Victoria president Vicki Thorpe, who is Byrne’s mother, said he was in contention to represent Australia at the Paralympics.
But she said he needed more training and exposure to competition pressure.
“He needs to get some more skill training and he needs volunteers to assist him train,” she said.
“All he needs is someone for a couple of hours to pick up the balls for him because he can’t do that.
“If he gets to that level on a regular basis, his chances of getting on to the Paralympic team are huge.”
She said Byrne had his sights set on the New Zealand Championships in October.
“There are no competitions in the Warrnambool/Hamilton area because there is not enough players, so he needs to travel to Melbourne regularly. If he’s not training he doesn’t get match practice.
“He needs to get some sponsorship and volunteers to assist him.”
While he is searching for help to improve his skills, his mother is working to increase boccia clubs in Victoria.