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The GFORCE Guide to... BOCCIA!

Added 02 Aug 2018 by GFORCE

In our latest GFORCE Guide to… we learn about the sport of Boccia.

What is boccia you ask? The name “boccia” is derived from the Latin word for “boss” and is a wheelchair sport contested at local, national and international levels, by athletes who have severe physical disabilities.

It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but it is now played by athletes with other neurological conditions such as muscular dystrophy or traumatic brain injury that affect motor skills.

With slight resemblances to bowling, boccia is a great sport for people who live with a disability and are in a wheelchair but still want to get involved in sport.

It may be an activity you’re not familiar with, but boccia actually became a Paralympic sport back in 1984 and by 2008 it was being practised in over 50 countries worldwide. Not only does it have an unusual name, but a complex set of rules too, requiring an extreme accuracy and precision when playing.

It can be played by individuals, pairs or teams of three and all events are mixed gender with the aim of the game being to throw leather balls as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack.

The jack is thrown first, then the player who threw the jack can play the first two regular balls followed by the opposing side. After this, the side furthest away from the jack goes next in and attempts to either get closer to the jack or knock the opposition’s ball out of the way.

Players can move the ball with their hands, feet, or in cases of a person’s severe disability, with an assistive device such as a ramp.

Each round is ended by the referee measuring the distance of the balls closest to the jack and awards points accordingly, one point for each ball that is closer to the opponent’s closest ball.

The winner is awarded to the team/players with the highest number of points at the end of play and in cases of a tie-break then one additional end is played to determine a winner.

Much like basketball and netball, boccia is played on a flat and smooth playing court, just smaller measuring 12.5 x 6m with 2m of empty space around it.

You can only compete at Boccia if you have a disability but it can be played by anyone on a friendly level, so once we understand the tricky set of rules, maybe we should all give it a go!

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