Harrow Borough resident and Paralympic sport athlete; Reshad Saraj was selected to receive an award from SportsAid, and was invited to a special reception at London City Hall by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to receive his award on 3oth May.
Reshad, who lives in Pinner, said: “It’s such an honour to receive this award and to join a list of previous recipients of the award who have gone on to do great things for their country. I can only hope I am able to emulate them and go on to represent my country at a Paralympics” He continued: “I am especially grateful to Boccia England who nominated me for this award and thank my Coaches for their continuing support.”
Reshad who is 26 has been playing Boccia, a Paralympic sport, for some 8 years and has risen through club level, regional and national competitions to be selected for England and to play for his country in International Matches the first of which, in Poznan, Poland he won the individual Gold Medal against athletes from 16 countries including World Ranked players. He has also won the team Bronze Medal at the Czech Boccia Open 2017 in Prague.
He was Boccia England Player of the Year 16/17 and English Champion in the same year and this year has won the coveted Boccia England Championship for the second time to qualify for this year’s Boccia UK Championships being held in Scotland in June.
SportsAid helps the next generation of British sports stars by giving them financial support and recognition during the critical early stages of their careers. SportsAid has been helping aspiring athletes since 1967 and Alumni include Jessica Ennis (athletics), Amir Khan (boxing), Mo Farah (athletics) and Sally Brown (Disability Athletics).
The Mayor of London has supported SportsAid and sport in general through a range of initiatives since 2008 and invited a number of athletes to City Hall to receive their awards on Wednesday 30th May. The reception promised to be a prestigious event and more than met this expectation with some of the past award winners attending and sharing their experiences and successes with this new generation of potential sporting stars.
The Reception for all the successeful athletes was attended by previous award winners such as Derek Redmond, a previous gold medal winner in the 4 x 400 metres event at the World Champioships and European Championships.
Derek addressed the awards winners and said: “Stay focused, go the extra mile and you will succeed in your chosen sports.”
Matthew Ryder, London Deputy Mayor also spoke at the event and said: “The Mayor of London is very pleased to support this initiative which helps provide the resource for these young athletes to meet the costs of participation in their sports” He continued: “We believe in you and, with Sports Aid, are commited to helping you in the coming months.”
Boccia is perhaps the earliest game ever played by mankind, with roots in ancient Greece and Egypt
One of the most famous games of boccia was played by Sir Francis Drake and Lord Howard in Plymouth, England, in 1588. They played whilst waiting for the arrival of the Spanish Armada and Sir Francis Drake insisted on finishing the game before sailing out to defeat the enemy.