Paralympics: What you need to know about boccia

 Toh Sze Ning (right), with the help of her sports assistant Chew Zi Qun, won the silver medal in the boccia mixed individual BC3 category at the 8th Asean Para Games 2015 in Singapore.
Toh Sze Ning (right), with the help of her sports assistant Chew Zi Qun, won the silver medal in the boccia mixed individual BC3 category at the 8th Asean Para Games 2015 in Singapore.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Singapore's Nurulasyiqah Taha and Toh Sze Ning are set to play in the boccia mixed pairs BC3 bronze medal match against Greece on Monday (Sept 12) at 11.20pm, Singapore timeNurulasyiqah is also set to compete in the BC3 individual matches on Tuesday.

Here is some information about the sport.

What is boccia?

 

Boccia (pronounced "bot-cha") is a ball sport originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy. The sport has now expanded to include athletes with disabilities affecting their motor skills. Originally a leisure game, it was first introduced as a competitive sport at the 1984 Paralympic Games in New York. Together with goalball, it is one of the two Paralympic sports without an Olympic counterpart.

Boccia uses four sport classes: BC1 to BC4. Nurulasyiqah and Toh are under the BC3 classification, which include athletes with significantly limited function in their arms and legs, and poor or no trunk control. Assistive devices, including a ramp, helps them propel the ball onto the court.


Boccia player Nurulasyiqah Taha (left) lining up a shot in training at OCBC Arena on Aug 5, 2016. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Who can play?

According to the Paralympics website, athletes with the following disabilities are eligible to compete:

  • Impaired muscle power
  • Athetosis
  • Impaired passive range of movement
  • Hypertonia
  • Limb deficiency
  • Ataxia

All players compete in wheelchairs.

How is it played?

Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs or in teams with three members. All players must be seated during the game. The objective is to throw or roll blue and red coloured balls onto a smooth, flat surface as close as possible to a white target ball or "jack". The player or team with the most balls near the jack wins.

There are four ends in individual and pair matches, while team matches have six ends. The red side, determined by the winner of a coin toss, begins the first end by propelling the jack into court.

In singles matches, the players alternate propelling the jack onto court twice. Team matches allow each player to propel the jack onto court in turn. The player who propels the jack is also the first one to toss their team's first ball, followed by a player on the opposing team. 

The athlete, pair or team with the ball closest to the jack after each end receives a point, with an additional point granted for every ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent's. 

Each athlete or team is allowed six balls per end. Every end finishes when all balls from both sides have been propelled.

SOURCES: PARALYMPIC.ORG, SINGAPOREBOCCIA.SG