Tait’s Paralympic campaign begins with international comp
THE road to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games has begun for Tait Jenkins with the Modanville athlete competing at his first international boccia competition this week.
The 17-year-old and 11 Australian teammates are taking on more than 75 of the best players in the Asia and Oceania Boccia Championships at Sydney Olympic Park.
Boccia is a precision ball sport similar to bocce and related to bowls, where players throw red and blue leather balls, aiming to get as close as possible to a white jack.
After a defeat at the hands of the Korean man who is the world number one player in his class, Ho Won Jeong, yesterday, Tait said he gained invaluable experience.
"It was really good, I learned a lot," he said.
"I am just really pleased that I took an end off him.
"It was great that I could be some competition for him and take an end off him rather than it just be an easy win for him.
"I am the only person in the world in this current competition to take an end off any player ranked higher than number four in the world."
Today Tait will take on a Japanese player, then a Chinese player.
"Both those games against the Japanese and Chinese players are winnable."
Born with spinal muscular atrophy, Tait plays against athletes with a similar level of ability in the BC3 class.
He was introduced to boccia at a muscular dystrophy camp in 2011 when he was 14.
Currently unseeded, Tait said he hoped to get an international world ranking in the top 30 following the tournament.
To be selected in the Australian Paralympic team he must perform well at this tournament and in the 2014 and 2015 Boccia World Cups.