Suitable for people with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other severe disabilities affecting motor skills, boccia is a strategy and mind game that can improve one’s attention, stability and muscle coordination.
Athletes are categorized into four classes (BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4) according to their physical and functional abilities. Among the four classes, BC3 athletes have very severe locomotor dysfunction that they have insufficient range of movement to propel the boccia ball onto the court; they will use a ramp to deliver the ball and compete with the help of an assistant who must keep his/her back to the court and eyes averted from the game. BC1 athletes can throw the ball with his/her hand or foot. They may also compete with an assistant who stays outside of the player’s box, to stabilize or adjust the wheelchair and give the ball to the athlete when requested. BC2 and BC4 athletes are not eligible to have assistants during the competition.
The game is played on a flat and smooth court (12.5m x 6m) with hard wooden or plastic surface. The goal is to throw the boccia balls (six red or blue balls) as close as possible to a white target ball, which is called the ‘jack’. Scores will be determined by the referee after all balls are thrown by both sides. The side with the ball closest to the jack will score one point.
There are three competition categories: Individual, Pairs and Team. In the Individual event, the match consists of four ends and each athlete will throw six balls per end. There are also four ends in the Pair event and each athlete will throw three balls per end (six balls for one side). The Team event will play six ends, two balls per athlete per end (six balls for one side). Time limit applies to all categories. Each side shall play within the time limit set for each end. The timekeeper will start timing when the referee signals the side to start playing until the moment the ball comes to a standstill or crosses the court boundaries.
For more details, please visit the website of Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed): http://www.bisfed.com/.