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Boccia is a game of skill, accuracy and strategy and was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with disabilities that affect motor skills.
Canada was one of the top nations at the Guadalajara 2011 Games, winning two gold medals in the sport.
With roots in ancient Greece and 16th century Italy, boccia popularity eventually spread worldwide and was primarily for athletes with cerebral palsy in its initial inclusion in the Paralympic Games. Today, the sport is also open to athletes using assistive devices.
How it works
Boccia requires extreme accuracy, concentration and muscle control. Played on a flat, smooth surface, the objective is to propel (throw, kick or use an assistive device) six balls as close as possible to a white target ball. At the close of each end, the athlete, pair or team with the ball closer to the “jack” than the opponent’s receives one point, and receives an additional point for every ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s.
An individual or pairs boccia match consists of four ends, while team events are six ends. Each athlete, pair or team “throws” six balls per end.
The playing area.
The duration of play.
The white target ball.
There are four physical impairment sport classes in boccia: BC1–4. All players compete in wheelchairs due to a loss of leg function and trunk stability caused by a lack of muscle coordination and control.
Athletes in this class have severe activity limitations that affect their legs, arms and trunk due to coordination impairments. They can grasp and throw the ball and do not use assistive devices. Athletes with some leg control are allowed to propel the ball with their foot.
Boccia players in class BC2 have more trunk control and arm function than those in BC1 and BC3. Their arm and hand function often allows them to throw the ball overhand and underhand using a variety of grasps.
Athletes with significantly limited function in their arms and legs and poor or no trunk control due to cerebral or non-cerebral origin compete in BC3 class. Unlike BC1 players, they use a ramp to roll the ball. Athletes often require assistive devices to propel the ball as they cannot consistently grasp and throw it.
Sport class BC4 comprises athletes with impairments that have no cerebral origin and that cause a loss of muscle strength or coordination. Athletes have very poor leg and trunk function, but are able to grasp and throw the ball.