Boccia is a target ball sport which tests both muscle control and accuracy. From a seated position, players propel balls to land as close as possible to a white marker ball, known as the Jack. Two sides compete as individuals, pairs or as a team of three over a set number of ends (4 for individuals and pairs, and 6 for teams).
Each side plays six balls (red or blue) each end. After each end, the athlete, pair or team with the ball closest to the jack receives 1 point plus an additional point for each ball closer to the jack than their opponent’s. Points are accumulated over the course of a match to find a winner. Although simple to get started, the tactics of the sport offer both tension and excitement as the game plays out.
Balls can be rolled down a ramp, thrown or kicked. If a player is unable to release the ball with their hands, they can use assistive devices, such as a head pointer.
The term boccia derives from the Italian word meaning “bowl” and on the continent bowls is often referred to as Bocce.
Boccia has roots in ancient Greece and Egypt and is thought to be one of the first games played by mankind. It is thought that during these times, large stones would have been thrown.
Boccia was originally designed for people with Cerebral Palsy but is now played by people with a wide range of disabilities.
In 1984 boccia was introduced into the Paralympics. During these games 19 athletes, representing 5 countries, competed. Nowadays over 50 countries play boccia, making it the fastest growing disability sport in the world. All these countries are members of and governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation.
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