BC4 Team Boccia player
Even the very best athletes need a bit of good fortune to help them on their way and Evie Edwards’ stroke of luck came at the very beginning of her boccia career. “My brother went to a regional competition in 2011 and I tagged along,” she recalls. “I came second, but you needed to win to qualify for the nationals. The winner got disqualified so I ended up going by default.”
Five years on she’s ranked 4th in the world in BC4 pairs, is the 2015 BISFed European BC4 Pairs silver medallist and narrowly missed out on a medal at her Paralympic debut in Rio. This turn of events she largely puts down to a simple discovery in 2014: her DM Orthotics leggings.
“I have TAR syndrome, which means I miss the lower half of my arm below the elbow and I have no knees or crucial ligaments that are meant to hold the knees in,” explains Evie. “The two bones in my leg would slide about and dislocate and would be really painful. Since wearing the leggings the dislocations have stopped and I no longer need daily painkillers.”
Evie has different sets for daily use and for playing sport. The sports leggings are lower on the hip to give her more room to move. “Before Lycra I would play a shot and I’d often fall over and my legs would go everywhere, particularly if I was trying to go long and put power in it,” recalls Evie. “Now I have a stable base and throw a lot straighter, which helps with power and accuracy.”
Evie continues to go from strength to strength and beat Pinto, the London 2012 winner, at the 2016 World Championships – all while juggling a business management degree at Suffolk University.
“It’s been hard at times to do both, but the university has been really flexible and let me do the degree part time,” says Evie. “All my focus has been on Rio and I haven’t really thought too far ahead, but while I’m up there in boccia I want to stay there as long as I can. Long-term I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know that disability sport will always be a big part of it.”