IV World Women’s Raffa Teams Championship – KAIHUA, China 17th-26 October, 2014

IV World Women’s Raffa Teams Championship – KAIHUA, China

17th-26 October, 2014

 

Officially opened by the CBI World Vice-President, Australian, Raymond Cher.

China staged its first World Raffa Bocce Championship in the picturesque Eastern National Park County of Kaihua, Zhejiang Province and it was FANTASTIC on every level! Seventeen national teams from six continents battled it out for the crown of the IV World Women’s Raffa Teams Champions! And the winners were….the Argentinean team who beat the tournament favourites – Italy!

The opening ceremony of the Championships was choreographed by the producer of the 2008 Special Olympics World Games spectacular and featured some 200 performers and the latest hi-tech visuals to stage an opening masterpiece comparable to any world class event! All this and a stadium full of enthusiastic, cheering supporters!

 The opening was attended by a notable array of dignitaries including Feng Jianzhong Deputy Director of Sport in China, Zheng Jiwei ,Vice-Governor of People’s Government of Zhejiang Province, The Mayor of Kaihua County, Director of the Supervisory Bureau of General Administration of Sports of China and President of the Chinese Multi-Bowls Association Shi Zehua and Vice President of the CBI - Raffa World Body, Raymond Cher who at the end of his speech, officially announced the opening of the Championship!

For Australia it was another history making event – this was the first time an Australian Women’s raffa bocce team had participated in a world event!  An event that our talented women had only had the opportunity of 2 months training for this important championship – and they didn’t disappoint! The team led by international coach, Massimo Serafini and assisted on the ground here in Australia by experienced raffa coach, Frank Fava, prepared the team of Maria Greco (NEBA), Grazia Letizia and Gabrielle O’Neil (Mount Gambier) and Diane Penney (Morwell).

This was to be a learning experience for the Australian team, up against veterans of world competition!

Australia’s draw included the strong teams of USA, Turkey, China1, and the Germany.

The world competition consisted of four stages. In each stage teams played 3 events, Singles, Doubles and Triples, with a point gained for each event win. A score of 2 points wins the stage.

Highlights for Australia - included in the first stage, Australia playing against the USA, narrowly lost two of the three games after being well in front. Maria Greco in the Singles lost by 2 points and Grazia Letizia, Grabrielle O’Neill and Diane Penney in the Triples missed out by one point.

In the second stage, against Turkey, Australia’s Maria Greco got within 5 points of Turkey’s winning score.

In stage three, Australia up against China 1, a tournament favourite and eventual third place getter, played their heart out but that wasn’t enough to match the throwing precision of the home team!

In the final of the four stages, Australia playing against Germany clinched their first win of the Championship with Maria Greco in the Singles, scoring 15 to Germany’s 12 points. In the Doubles, Maria Greco and Diane Penney got to within 5 points of Germany.

The final placings for the IV World Women’s Raffa Teams Championship - Gold to Argentina, Silver to Italy and Bronze to China1.

This Championship was full of excitement tempered by disappointment for some, great theatre, superb competition and a lasting memory for all the people, players, officials, organisers and spectators! No one was left in any doubt about the strength and popularity of the sport of bocce in China today, with schools and communities actively promoting the sport!  Australia can also engage in a sense of pride, given that it was Australia that demonstrated the “volo” game in China 31 years ago!

Australia was privileged to participate in this event and on behalf of the Bocce Federation of Australia we thank the organising body and the major sponsor – Kaihua Ruida Plastic-Tech. Co. Ltd., for superb hospitality and playing stadium! We also acknowledge the support of the Australian Sports Commission. 

Raymond Cher

B14-164A

 Photographs:

1.1 Opening Ceremony

1.2 Declaring the Championship Open

Choice of –

1.3 Australia’s team in action

1.4 Australia’s team in action

1.5 Australia’s team in action