What is Boccia?
Similar to boules, Boccia is a tactical game of accuracy and skill. It requires muscle control and concentration, as well as strong nerves, and can be played by teams, pairs or individuals. In the words of the GB Boccia Federation:
"Boccia is a sport designed for athletes with severe impairments and has no Olympic equivalent. It is a target ball sport similar in principle to bowls but is played indoors with soft leather balls. It is a sport of intriguing tactics, incredible skill and nail biting tension."
The aim of the game is to send balls closer to the white jack ball than your opponent's balls.
Primarily played by athletes with cerebral palsy, the sport is divided into four categories - BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 - classified by levels of functional ability.
Boccia was created in the 1970s by the Swedish Disability Sports Federation. It became a Paralympic sport in 1984.
Balls can be propelled by throwing or kicking or if the player can do neither of these by releasing the ball down a ramp, often with the assistance of a head pointer. Many players have spasms as part of their condition and learning how to control these to give the precision necessary to play the game is part of the skill players acquire through training.
Players are divided into four classifications depending on their disability and functional ability.
All players have impaired functional ability in all four limbs.