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Michael J.Jones meets Zoe 'Golden girl' Robinson

posted 23 Feb 2012, 02:10 by Andrew Millwall

                     Zoe “Golden Girl” Robinson

                                                                    By Michael J. Jones

Looking ahead to this year’s Paralympics is WWBPL member and leading Boccia player Zoe “Golden Girl” Robinson. 
The Bury hero, 19-years-old, is hoping to win gold in London in both the single and team tournaments. Claiming gold would see Zoe emulating her team success of the 2008 Beijing Games, where she and team mates; Nigel Murray, Dan Bentley and David Smith overcame Portugal in the final.

For those that don’t know, Boccia is an event a little like bowling. It was originally played in Greece before being refined in Italy. It is a sport that is now played by thousands worldwide. Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs, or teams of three and all events are mixed gender. 
The aim of the game is to throw leather balls (coloured red or blue) as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack.
 Zoe, who has Cerebral Palsy, trains hard for up to six days a week. She also attends team sessions around other parts of the UK, to obtain peak fitness to play her beloved sport.

As well as being a leading Boccia player, Zoe is also a keen boxing fan and regularly attends shows around the UK. Zoe kindly took time out of her busy training schedule to talk to me about her preparation for the London Games and her love of boxing-

MJ) Hi Zoe, you're one of the leading Boccia players in the UK. How long have you been playing the sport ?

ZR) I started playing Boccia in 2006, just with many other sports, and went to the nationals where I got chosen to play for England. In 2007 I was put forward for the GB squad and got selected to represent them.

MJ) You won an Olympic Gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Games; tell me about that experience and achievement ?

ZR) In May 2007 I went to the worlds in Canada and the following year I got selected for Beijing; which was an amazing experience. Living in the village was fantastic but coming home with a gold medal, well that was the ultimate.


MJ) I hear your training for Boccia is pretty full-on ?

ZR) I train Monday to Friday at my local sports centre if I am here in Bury. At present I am going to other places often like Warwick, Stansted and Sheffield.
I do daily strength and conditioning work and go to the gym and have regular physio. We have our BC1/2 camp once a month and then every couple of months a full squad camp. 

Note: A Boccia player is given a ranking of BC1, 2, 3 or 4 based on their physical capabilities to play the sport.

MJ) So I hear this year at the London Olympics you're aiming for Gold in the team event and the singles ?

ZR) I do not know if I am selected yet for London and will not know till April or May so I am just training hard at the moment.

MJ) So how did you first become interested in boxing ?

ZR) I was a little interested in boxing before I went to Beijing, but got more into it when I came back from the Games as I got talking to Tony Jeffries. We did a parade around London and from there went to watch him fight in Sunderland. That is how I got to know Brian Rose.

MJ) Who are your favourite fighters around at the moment? 

ZR) There are quite a few boxers that I like; Brian Rose, Stephen Smith, Anthony Crolla, Scott Quigg, Paul Butler and Frankie Gavin.

MJ) If you could make any boxing match-up this year what would it be and why ?

ZR) The matches I would make would be Kevin Mitchell vs Anthony Crolla and Mayweather vs Pacquaio. Those would be good fights.

MJ) Are there any fighters that will come and cheer you on at the Games like you have done for them ?

ZR) We will have to wait to see if I am selected before I can answer if any will come. Hopefully a couple of fighters will do. A couple came out to the World cup in Belfast last year to watch me. Brian Rose came to watch; he is really nice and always supports me and does some gym-work with me.

MJ) Can I put you on the spot; which wins Boccia or boxing ?

ZR) Boccia wins one way and boxing the other, I get so much out of both of them. They have both introduced me to some great people and I have visited great places with both.

MJ) Any message for your fans and league members who will be reading this ?

ZR) Roll on September the games will be great !!!

Many thanks to Zoe for taking the time to speak to us and everyone at the WWBPL wish her every success for the London Paralympics. Zoe truly is an inspiration to us all.

To learn more about Zoe, visit her site at 

WWBPL member Brian Rose, British light-middleweight champion

“Zoe has come to all of my fights for the last three or four years. We met through Tony Jeffries and have been friends ever since. I’ve gone up to Bury a few times and played Boccia with her; I’ve even won a couple of times (laughs). 
Zoe is a brilliant girl and an inspiration to any boxer out there. If you see what she has had to overcome and the training she does its unbelievable what she has achieved, even winning a gold medal in Beijing. She thinks that I’m an inspiration to her but the truth is she inspires me to be the best boxer I can be. She’s one of my best friends and everything she’s won she deserves because of the hard work and determination she has put in. I’m very fond of Zoe and I’m proud to be her friend.”

WWBPL member Paul Butler, unbeaten super-bantamweight prospect 


“I met Zoe in Arnie’s Gym, she used to come and watch Frankie Gavin train, it was about ten months ago. I think it’s amazing what Zoe's done for the country winning a Gold medal in Beijing and hopefully she wins another in London. She's a massive fan of boxing, always wants to come to the gym and watch us to see how we are getting on. Number one fan she is, she will travel anywhere.” 

Michael J.Jones February 2012.