Boccia is one of three Paralympic sports that does not have an Olympic equivalent.
You can get involved at any level of experience or ability, however at Paralympic level it is for athletes in wheelchairs. Similar in style to bowls, Boccia is a sport that requires precision, strategy and skill, requiring competitors to get their balls closest to a target ball, or ‘jack.’ Great Britain is one of a few countries leading the field in Boccia, picking up 2 medals at the 2012 Games.
It is similar in principal to bowls or boules with the principal aim to get your balls closer to ‘the jack’ than your opponent, using a high level of technical skill to apply match winning tactics.
Boccia is mixed event with male and female athletes playing alongside and against each other in Pair, Team and Individual matches. It is played indoors on a court measuring 12.5m by 6m which is roughly the size of a badminton court.
More than one hundred nations have National Boccia Programmes and Great Britain is one of the world leaders (with two medals at the London Paralympics) along with Brazil, Korea, Thailand, China and Portugal amongst many others.
If you are interested in getting involved or taking part, then please contact your National Disability Sports Organisation:
- Boccia England: http://www.bocciaengland.org.uk/
- Disability Sport Wales: http://www.disabilitysportwales.org/
- Scottish Disability Sport: http://www.scottishdisabilitysport.com/sds/
GB Boccia manages, coach and selects the best athletes in the UK to compete for Great Britain at European and World Championships; and to represent ParalympicsGB at the Paralympic Games.
Classification is defined as follows:
BC1 – Players with Cerebral Palsy who are able to use their hands or feet to consistently propel a ball into play. BC1 athletes may have an aide on court to pass them their ball before each shot
BC2 – Players with Cerebral Palsy who are able to use their hands to consistently propel a ball into play and have greater functional ability than a BC1 athlete
BC3 – Players with Cerebral Palsy or other disability with locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs who are unable to throw or kick a ball into play and as such are permitted to use an assistive device such as a ramp to propel the ball into play and are supported by an assistant (‘ramper’)
BC4 – Players who do not have Cerebral Palsy but have another disability with locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs and have similar functional ability to BC2 athletes. Disabilities such as Muscular Dystrophy and Tetraplegia will fall under this classification.
Boccia is practiced in over 60 countries.