Corena determined to keep the boccia Canberra Cup on home territory this weekend

Canberra is a city full of fiercely competitive sportspeople. And Corena​ Harrison is one of them.

The captain of the ACT boccia team is competing in the Canberra Cup this weekend, with her five team-mates, all determined to keep the trophy within territory borders.

Corena Harrison, who has cerebral palsy, is the captain of the ACT boccia team competing in the Canberra Cup in Tuggeranong this weekend. Her coach Barry Yesberg says she is a fierce competitor.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

When asked who was the main threat this weekend, Corena was unabashed:

"ME!" she said, with a big smile.

Corena Harrison, of Chifley, has played boccia for 10 years, winning a New Zealand championship along the way. Note the genius use of a muffin tin to hold her boccia balls while she is competing.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

The Chifley woman is a 10-year veteran of boccia, a ball game similar to bocce and lawn bowls, played by people with disabilities. Many of the competitors have cerebral palsy, others disabilities such as muscular dystrophy.

Competitors throw down a ball to try to get as close as possible to the jack.

Corena, with that help of her coach Barry "Bazza" Yesberg, has come up with the genius innovation of using a muffin tin on a steel rod to hold her six balls on her wheelchair as she lines up a winner.

Barry said Corena, who has cerebral palsy, was the 2016 New Zealand national champion and missed out by just one point on repeating the feat last year.

"She's in the top 10 in Australia, I'd say," Barry said.

And what makes the difference?

"Her keenness," he said.

Corena's foster mum Shirley Cudd said she was passionate about her sport and wanted others to succeed too. She spends every Thursday at Marist College encouraging students with disabilities to give sport a go.

"She is exuberant," Shirley said.

"Everybody I know, likes her."

Corena started playing boccia as a lighter alternative to her other sport of choice, ten-pin bowling.

"I can go overseas and represent my country," she said, with boccia competitions in Hong Kong, Portugal and New Zealand under her belt.

She's serious about keeping on top of her game, Her personal trainer is Angela Reakes, who plays for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League and works at the gym in Deakin where Corena lift weights, does resistance training and ups her cardio with boxing.

Competitors from Victoria, Tasmania, the Hunter Valley and Sydney will be vying for the boccia Canberra Cup this weekend, with the public welcome to watch the competition from 10am Saturday and Sunday at the Tuggeranong Archery Club in Greenway.

Also competing for the ACT will be Dylan Schwarz, Moghamet Hendricks, Justy Lai, Bryan McGuinness and James Roe.

A mad-keen Canberra Raiders fan, Corena is also looking forward to taking on the Green Machine's captain Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana in a game of boccia later this month.

And what does winning feel like?

"Awesome!" Corena reckons.

*Anyone who can help with sponsorship of the ACT boccia team in their quest to compete at the nationals in Sydney in May and in the New Zealand championships in October or who would just like to volunteer at the club should contact Shirley Cuff on 0452 048 708 or email Corena Harrison at actboccia@gmail.com

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