Boccia (/ˈbɒtʃə/ BOTCH-ə) is a precision ball sport, similar to bocce, and related to bowls and pétanque. The name "boccia" is derived from the Latin word for "boss" – bottia.[1] The sport is contested at local, national and international levels, by athletes with severe physical disabilities. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills. In 1984, it became a Paralympic sport, and in 2008 was being practised in over fifty countries worldwide.[2] Boccia is governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) and is one of only two Paralympic sports (along with goalball) that have no counterpart in the Olympic program.

Paralympics Beijing 2008 286
Highest governing bodyBISFed
Mixed genderYes
TypeOutdoor or Indoor
ParalympicPresent since the 1984 Paralympics

About the game

Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs, or teams of three. All events are mixed gender. The aim of the game is to throw leather balls — coloured red or blue (which side uses which is determined by a coin toss) 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 (first, the player who threw the jack then the opposing side), 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 number of points after all ends have been played, one additional end is played to determine a winner.

The number of ends and balls in each end depends on the side makeup. Individual competition consists of four ends and six balls per player per end, whilst paired competition is four ends and six balls per pair per end (three per player). Team competition is six ends, and six balls per team per end (two per player).

In pair and team events, a reserve player is allowed. Between ends a reserve can be substituted for a player during a game, but only one substitution per game is permitted.[3]

Boccia is played on a court measuring 12.5 × 6 m with 2 m of empty, in-bounds, playable space around it. The surface of the court is flat and smooth--typically a converted wooden basketball and/or volleyball court but sometimes a hard turf surface flooring. The throwing area is divided into six rectangular throwing boxes in which the athletes must stay completely within during play. On the court is a V-shaped line over which the jack must cross for the throw to be valid. At the end of the court is the ‘dead ball container’ in which balls are put if they are thrown outside the time limit, out of the area of play or if the athlete violates a rule during his or her throw. A cross marks the position where the jack must be placed if it touches or crosses the boundary line or in the case of a tie-break. The balls themselves are made of leather and are slightly larger than a tennis ball, weighing approximately 275 grams and measuring 270 mm in circumference. They are available in different grades of softness and hardness and are selected purposefully to execute desired strategies within a match.


Paralympics Beijing 2008 506
Norway's Roger Aandalen (blue/white) vs Japan's Takayuki Hirose (red) at the 2008 Paralympics.

To be eligible to compete in boccia at national or international level, athletes must have a disability and be in a wheelchair, as a result of cerebral palsy, or another neurological condition that has similar effects, such as muscular dystrophy or traumatic brain injury. Players are examined to determine the extent of their disability and then assigned to a sport class, designed to allow them to compete against other athletes with a similar level of physical function.

Boccia players are assigned to one of four sport classes, depending on their functional ability:

  • BC1 – Players in this class throw the ball with the hand or foot. They may compete with an assistant who stays outside the competitor's playing box, to stabilize or adjust their playing chair and give the ball to the player when requested.
  • BC2 – Players in this class throw the ball with the hand. They are not eligible for assistance.
  • BC3 – Players in this class have very severe locomotor dysfunction in all four extremities. Players in this class have no sustained grasp or release action and although they may have arm movement, they have insufficient range of movement to propel a boccia ball onto the court. They may use an assistive device such as a ramp to deliver the ball. They may compete using an assistant; assistants must keep their back to the court and their eyes averted from play.[4]
  • BC4 – Players in this class have severe locomotor dysfunction of all four extremities as well as poor trunk control. They can demonstrate sufficient dexterity to throw the ball onto the court. Players are not eligible for assistance.


Boccia can be played on a recreational and/or competitive basis. Competitions are organized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. The international competition calendar is based on the Summer Paralympic Games quadrennial, with international regional championships in the first year, world championships in the second year, world cup in the third year, and the Paralympic games in the fourth year.

There are approximately 350 internationally ranked boccia players.[5]

179 athletes from 24 countries and regions attended the 2007 Boccia World Cup during May 9–19, 2007 in Vancouver, BC, Canada[6] for their last opportunity for classification and achieve international ranking for the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.[7]

88 athletes from 19 countries competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing held 7 to 17 September. Brazil and Korea were ranked first equal over all, both countries finishing with two gold medals and one bronze medal each.[8]

Athletes from 36 countries attended the 2010 Boccia World Championships, and 28 countries participated in the team competition. The balance of power in recent years has shifted from European dominance to a more worldwide competitiveness with Brazil leading the BC4s and Korea the BC3s. The dominant force of the Mixed Team has only recently changed hands from GB to Korea but the former power houses Spain and Portugal can never be ruled out.


  1. ^ History of Bocce
  2. ^ "Boccia | IPC". Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  3. ^ "Boccia New Zealand — Boccia New Zealand". Archived from the original on 2004-12-11. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  4. ^ [1] Archived February 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [2] Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ [3],Retrieved 2013-05-25 Archived February 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ [4] Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Boccia — The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games". Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2013-05-25.

External links

Belgium at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

Belgium competed at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 to 18 September 2016.


Bocce (), sometimes anglicized as bocci or boccie, is a ball sport belonging to the boules family, closely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy (where it is called bocce, the plural of the Italian word boccia which means 'bowl' in the sport sense), it is played around Europe and also in overseas areas that have received Italian migrants, including Australia, North America, and South America (where it is known as bochas, or bolas criollas ('Criollo balls') in Venezuela, bocha in Brazil). Bocce was initially played among the Italian migrants but has slowly become more popular with their descendants and the wider community.

The sport is also very popular on the eastern side of the Adriatic, especially in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the sport is known in Serbo-Croatian as boćanje ('playing boće') or balote (colloquially also bućanje). In Slovenia the sport is known as balinanje or colloquially 'playing boče', or bale (from Italian bocce and Venetian bałe, meaning 'balls').

Boccia at the 2008 Summer Paralympics

Boccia at the 2008 Summer Paralympics consisted of seven events. The competitions were held in the Beijing National Convention Center from September 7 to September 12.

Boccia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics

Boccia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics was held in the ExCeL from 2 September to 8 September, with a maximum of 104 athletes (80 men, 24 women) competing in seven events. There were four individual events, two pair events, and one team event.

Boccia at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

Boccia at the 2016 Summer Paralympics was held in Riocentro, in the Barra district of Rio de Janeiro in September 2016, with a maximum of 104 athletes (24 women, 80 gender unspecified) competing in seven events. The programme consisted of four individual events, two pairs events, and one team event, spread across four classifications.

Boccia at the Summer Paralympics

Boccia has been contested at the Summer Paralympics since the 1984 Games in New York City and Stoke Mandeville. Five boccia events were held at those games, two for men, two for women, and one mixed event where men and women competed together. Since then, all boccia events at the Paralympics have been mixed. Athletes in this sport have cerebral palsy and are given a classification according to the extent of their disability. There were originally two classes, C1 and C2, with C1 corresponding to those with more severe impairment. In 1996 a "C1 with aid device" class was added, and in 2000 the system was changed to have four classes, BC1 through BC4.

Boccia classification

Boccia classification is the classification system governing boccia, a sport designed specifically for people with disabilities. Classification is handled by Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association. There are four classifications for this sport. All four classes are eligible to compete at the Paralympic Games.

Daniel Michel

Daniel Michel (born 18 August 1995) is an Australian boccia player. He represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Ernest Rupolo

Ernest "the Hawk" Rupolo (1908 – August 24, 1964) was a low-level New York mobster and hitman for the Luciano crime family, now the Genovese crime family. Rupolo would later turn informant and testify against then-capo and future boss Vito Genovese.

Francisco Beltrán Manero

Francisco Javier Beltrán Manero (born November 5, 1972 in Madrid) is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games.

José Manuel Prado

José Manuel Prado Prado is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games.

José María Dueso

Jose Maria Dueso Villar is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games.

José Rodríguez Vázquez

José Manuel Rodríguez Vazquez (born 3 September 1980) is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games. Vazquez won a Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.

Manolo Martín

Manolo Martín Pérez is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games.

Pedro Cordero Martín

Pedro Cordero Martín (born January 28, 1972) is a Spanish boccia player. He represented Spain at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Paralympics, winning a bronze medal at both the 2004 and 2008 games in the BC1-BC2 boccia team event.

Portugal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics

Portugal competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing. The country participated with 35 competitors in seven sports.

Portugal at the Paralympics

Portugal made its Paralympic Games début at the 1972 Summer Paralympics (two years before the Carnation Revolution), where it was represented solely by a men's team in wheelchair basketball. They were eliminated at the preliminary stage of the competition, with one victory (over Switzerland) and three defeats. Portugal was then absent from the Paralympic Games until the 1984 Summer Games, where its athletes won the country's first fourteen medals, including three gold in track and field and one in boccia. Portugal has competed at every subsequent edition of the Summer Paralympics, but -almost uniquely among Western European countries- has never taken part in the Winter Games.Portuguese athletes have won a total of 92 Paralympic medals, of which 25 gold, 30 silver and 37 bronze. As of 2010, Portugal ranks thirty-sixth on the all-time Paralympic Games medal table. The country's best performance came in 2000, when it won 15 medals (of which 6 gold) and ranked 26th.

Sandra Peña Cortes

Sandra Peña Cortés is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games after finishing first in a National competition in 2011.

Verónica Pamiés

Verónica Pamiés Morera (born 23 March 1976 in Aruba) is a Spanish boccia player, who has represented the country internationally at the Paralympic Games.

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