Introduced in 1984 at the New York Paralympic Games, Boccia is one of only two sports which have no Olympic counterpart (the other sport being goalball). Boccia is open to wheelchair-bound athletes with severe cerebral palsy or related neurological conditions.
The goal of Boccia is simple, but precision is key. Played in a marked court, usually with a hard surface, players throw/roll slightly asymmetrical balls (called bowls) as close as possible to a white target ball (the ‘jack’). The balls can be thrown or rolled by hand or down a ramp (the ‘chute’). Players who are not able to release a ball down a chute with their hands can use a device called a head pointer. This enables very severely disabled athletes to participate in the sport by releasing the ball by via a movement of their head. The game must be played from a seated position, which makes it ideal for wheelchair users.
Players with cerebral palsy are classified as CP1 or CP2 athletes and athletes with other severe physical disabilities (eg, muscular dystrophy) are eligible to compete in Boccia as well. Competitive events are mixed and feature individual, pair and team events. The governing body for Boccia is the International Boccia Commission which is part of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreational Association (CP-ISRA).
What’s in it for you?
The sport challenges the athlete with muscle control and accuracy and commands high focus and concentration. Other benefits include improved general fitness, blood circulation and skills in forward planning. Players learn to strategize and thereby cultivate their ability to make decisions.
✓Cerebral Palsy ✓Muscular Dystrophy
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