The word “boccia” is derived from the Italian word meaning to bowl, and this family of sports is probably the earliest game ever played by mankind – carvings of Egyptian figures throwing stones have been recorded as early as 5200 BC.

Governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed), boccia is a sport that suitable for people with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other severe impairments affecting motor skills. The sport is a strategy and mind game. It can help train one’s thinking skills, muscular coordination, attention and stability.

Boccia is one of the Paralympic sports which do not have an Olympic counterpart. It was first introduced in 1984 Paralympic Games and has been developing very fast recently. For competition purposes, athletes are classified according to their disability into four classifications (BC1, BC2, BC3, BC4). The sport is composed of seven events (BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 Individual, BC1/BC2 Team, BC3 and BC4 Pairs) which are all mixed gender.

Individual competition consists of four ends and six balls per player per end, whilst paired competition is four ends and six balls per pair per end (three per player). Team competition is six ends, and six balls per team per end (two per player). The aim of the game is to throw leather balls – coloured red or blue (which side gets which is determined by a coin toss) – as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack. When each end is finished, the referee identifies ball (or balls) of the same colour closest to the jack, and awards points accordingly – one point for each ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest ball. The team/player with the highest number of points at the end of play is the winner. If both teams have the same amount of points after all ends have been played, one additional end is played to determine a winner. Boccia is played on a flat and smooth court measuring 12.5 × 6 m. The balls are made of leather and are slightly larger than a tennis ball, weighing approximately 275 grams and measuring 270mm in circumference with different grades of softness and hardness.

For more details, please visit the website of Boccia International Sports Federation: http://www.bisfed.com/.