Learn about this Summer Paralympic sport

May 15, 2012

Yan Zhiqiang of China competes in a team boccia match between China and Great Britain at the 2008 Paralympic Games, in Beijing, China

The game of boccia, sometimes known as bocce, comes from the Latin word for ball, “bottia.” It is believed to have its origins in ancient Greece. The game is a target sport, or a sport in which the main objective is to hit a certain mark. Boccia tests an athlete’s muscle control, accuracy and concentration. The event first appeared at the 1984 Paralympic Games, which took place both in New York City and in Stoke Mandeville, England. Men and women compete together as individuals, pairs and in teams of three. It is played by wheelchair athletes with varying disabilities.

Rules of the Game

Boccia is played on a rectangular court. The goal is to throw, kick or roll a ball so that it lands as close as possible to a white target ball, called the jack. Players can use a ramp if they are unable to throw or kick the ball. In a game, there are four or six “ends,” or phases. At the start of an end, each player, pair or team gets six balls. The closest ball to the jack scores one point. Additional points are given for every ball that sits closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest ball.


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