1. How and why did you start playing bocce?
I started playing bocce when I was 16, after coming home from watching my brother compete in the Junior World Championships in Italy.
At these championships, it was the first time I really watched the game with interest and my brother, along with some other players, had started to teach me how to shoot on the warm-up courts.
When we returned to Australia, my brother began training me properly and I competed in my first junior nationals the following year.
2. Which bocce event (singles/doubles/triples/throwing etc) is your favourite to play, and why?
The mixed rapid throw because it is a fast-paced, athletic and exciting event, and I get to compete it with my brother.
3. How many medals have you won at the Nationals?
I have won four first place medals at the Nationals – two for the Precision Throw in 2016 and 2019, one for Bowl Throw in 2017, and one for Triples in 2016.
4. Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a champion bocce player?
I believe that I have a disciplined demeanour and I show this through turning up to training every week to practice my bocce skills, and also keeping up my fitness.
I rarely miss a training session in the lead up to competitions and this allows me to stay determined, focused and be on top of my game.
My passion for the sport also allows me to continuously train and focus on becoming the best player I can be.
5. Why are you so passionate about playing bocce?
I was first introduced to bocce when my family visited my grandparents’ home country Slovenia in 2007, so playing bocce now is a way to keep me connected to my culture.
I also love playing bocce competitively as it allows me to represent my country, travel overseas, and compete against other young people.
I have made many friends both here in Australia and overseas that I will stay connected to for life, and it is all because of bocce.
6. What are your major highlights and achievements in bocce in the past?
My best achievement was placing third in the doubles event with my brother at the Denis Ravera International Competition in Monaco in 2019, and then a week later placing fifth in the same event at the World Junior Championships in Italy.
My major highlights have been representing Australia three times and the incredible experiences I’ve had competing at international competitions.
7. What do you believe is the greatest challenge most bocce players are facing today?
In Australia, our greatest challenge is not having enough elite competitions to play in.
In order to develop our elite players in Australia, we need to try and match the European level and quality of competitions and hold more frequent national competitions so we can get that experience playing against other elite players around Australia.
However, because every state in Australia is quite far apart, it is hard to organise for players to frequently travel interstate.
8. Is there a coach or bocce player that you looked up to when you first started playing as a role model, and why?
My brother has always been my biggest inspiration since I started playing bocce.
His determination has allowed him to grow into a great player and win many national and international medals.
When I saw him win his first world championship medal, I was inspired to train and put in the hard work like he did so that hopefully one day I could achieve the same success.
9. How do you prepare to compete in the Nationals?
In the lead up to Nationals, I will increase my training days at the court to three or four.
At the courts I will practice my throwing and bowling skills and play competition-like games against either my brother or my dad.
I will also focus largely on my fitness for the progressive event, which will include running training to improve my cardiovascular fitness and gym training to improve my strength.
10. What one word describes you?