Road to Rio 2016: Paralympic Boccia

Two months to go until the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. With the opening ceremonies set to begin on September 7th, we have been taking the time to dive into some of the events that will take place over the course of the games.

So far, we have already covered sitting volleyball and wheelchair fencing in previous posts, and today we are going to offer a bit of insight into one of the more strategic events in the Paralympic Games: Boccia.

About Paralympic Boccia

Although Bocce isn’t an official olympic sport, Boccia, it’s paralympic counterpart, has been an official event since the New York/Stoke Mandeville 1984 Games. It’s one of the few events in the games where men and women compete together, and there are events for individuals, pairs and teams of three.

The rules of Boccia are essentially the same as Bocce, where the idea of the game is to try to land your team’s balls as close to a white target ball (known as the Jack) as possible. The person, or team, who lands the most balls closest to the Jack wins the round.

Games consist of four rounds for individual events and six for team-based events.

How it Differs from Bocce

Bocce balls are generally made of metal or various kinds of plastic, but Boccia balls are made out of leather, making them lighter and easier to hold and toss. Balls can be tossed by players using their hands, feet or a ramp. Assistants are also available to help stabilize a participant’s chair, if needed.

Who Can Play

Although the sport was originally created for people who have cerebral palsy, athletes who have neurological conditions and those who use a wheelchair in general are eligible to participate.

The reigning champion of the world right now is Brazilian player Dirceu Pinto, who has four Paralympic gold medals (for individual and pair events) and has won two World Championship titles since 2008.

What do you think of the game of Boccia? Join the conversation by commenting below!

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