Rafael Young is a talented Boccia athlete in the England Academy who needed his ramp modifying to better suit his needs and allow him to advance further in the sport.
Boccia is a precision ball sport similar to bowls, with various categories relating to different levels of ability. To play, Rafael directs an assistant (who can not view the court) to set the ramp up how he would like and uses a pointer fixed to his helmet to send the ball rolling down the ramp.
The existing ramp lacked sufficient stiffness and stability, slipping from the set position and hindering Rafael’s accuracy. It was too slow to set up within the time constraints of the competition and didn’t securely hold the ball in place until release.
The modified ramp also needed to maintain a small footprint so that Rafael, the ramp, and assistant fitted within a specified area.
Unmodified Boccia Ramp (Boccas)
The ramp was initially only held in position by a single clamp, which when the ramp was fully extended, couldn’t be tightened enough to maintain the position. To improve the stiffness Michael added a telescopic strut between the end of the ramp and the base which also helped to reduce the vibrations during use. Since speed is a major constraint in the competition an aluminium cam lever was also added to enable quick set up.
Modified Ramp Strut
To create a more secure holding place for the ball, a Perspex platform was fitted to the top of the ramp with a semi-circular cut out. A half inch plate of steel was also fixed to the bottom of the base to increase the ramps stability without increasing the overall footprint.
Steel Base Plate
Rafael’s Boccia achievements have now resulted in his entrance to the Talented Athlete scheme with international medals on the horizon!
Good luck Rafael!!