The name Boccia is derived from the Latin word for ball – bottia.
The sport is competed at national and international level by athletes who require a wheelchair because of physical disability. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills, and in 1984 Boccia became an official Paralympic sport.
The aim of the game is to throw leather balls as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack. The jack is thrown first, then the first two regular balls are played, after which, the side furthest away from the jack goes next in an attempt to either get closer to the jack or knock the opposition's ball out of the way.
In this fashion, each end will continue until one side has played all their balls, at which point, the opposing side will play their remaining balls. The balls can be moved with hands, feet, or, if the competitor's disability is severe, with an assistive device such as a ramp.
At the end of each round, or end, the referee measures the distance of the balls 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 in Great Britain is governed by GB Boccia Federation. For more information on Boccia and the GB Boccia Federation, please visit www.gb-boccia.org