The North West Region of The British Polio Fellowship is celebrating following their victory at the charity’s National Indoor Games, held at the Leicester Marriott Hotel on 18-20 March. Led by Branch Chairman Mike Griffiths, a jubilant North West team accumulated enough points to walk away with the Gordon Lumb Trophy for Top Region, having beaten teams from ten regions across the UK to secure first place.
The games began on Saturday and saw those living with Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) competing against each other in nine disciplines adapted to allow wheelchair users and people with other mobility issues to participate.
“I would like to congratulate the North West on their victory at the Indoor Games,” said Ted Hill MBE. “It was once again another hard fought contest but is also the one event in our calendar when members from across the country get to meet and socialise. It is about relationships and fellowship and as such it was a pleasure to welcome a team from Northern Ireland once more.”
A record 229 attendees and 132 competitors arrived at the Leicester Marriott Hotel for the Indoor Games having qualified from ten regional heats to compete across nine games: Kurling; Bowls; Darts; Boccia; Draughts; Cribbage; Dominoes; 5s and 3s; and Scrabble. Medals were awarded to the winners of each sportwith the Top Trophy renamed in memory of late Games Coordinator Gordon Lumb and presented at the awards dinner Saturday evening by Chair of the Championship Committee, Christine Lumb.
The North West stormed to victory with Andrew Gilliland securing gold in draughts and Tom Maddock and Dinesh Gorasia coming silver and bronze respectively in the darts sitting; a feat repeated by Howard Parker and Harry Jackson coming second and third in darts standing. Chairman Mike Griffiths himself came fourth in Cribbage, while Lyn Morton came third in a tense Boccia (class 1) event.
The North West were confirmed in first place, with East Midlands in second and Scotland in third. The big surprise was the absence of the Yorkshire region from the top three after years of dominance, despite David Howells continuing his winning streak in the darts (standing).
“Each year the Indoor Games has something new and 2016 has proved no exception,” added Ted. “It was an emotional event as the first without Gordon Lumb, but John Haddock and Pat Parker, together with Shirley Russell and the team of officials and staff from Central Office did Gordon proud. Record numbers of attendees, record competitors, a team from Northern Ireland and the tensest games I have ever seen will be longremembered.”
As the Boccia events moved into their final tense stages, people finishing in other events came along to watch. You could hear a pin drop as victories for Home Counties North and East Midlands in Boccia class 1 and 2could have changed the result. Lyn Morton’s hard fought 3rd place for the North West was enough to edge the East Midlands region into second place overall, despite an amazing individual performance from the East Midlands’ Sharda Karia to take gold in Boccia class 2.
“There was an added buzz to be playing the games in Leicester as the Foxes edge ever closer to a fairytale Premier League title,” added Ted. “The East Midlands Region was keen to make it a Leicester sporting double and they will be hoping being edged into second is not an omen for Leicester City’s prospects!”