A national boccia player has been given a boost towards realising his dream of going to the Paralympics after receiving a charitable grant.

Harrow’s Reshad Saraj, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, took up the sport – a precision game similar to bowls – seven years ago on the advice of a teacher.

He has since risen through the ranks and was named ‘Boccia England Player of the Year 2017’. This followed success at his first international tournament in Poznan, Poland, a year earlier.

To continue his development, Reshad was awarded a £900 grant on behalf of ‘A Smile for a Child’.

He will use this money to purchase new equipment, as his original set of balls had begun to deteriorate after years of intensive training and competing.

Chris Read, who presented the England international with a cheque at Waitrose South Harrow, said: “It’s always satisfying to see the money we collect being used to support the local causes in the area in which we have collected. 

“Reshad is a great example of a worthy beneficiary from his neighbourhood’s generosity.”

His words were echoed by store manager Gary Hawkins who wished Reshad all the best in his quest to represent Great Britain at future Paralympic Games.