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Young blonde kid in wheelchair is helped to guide boccia ball onto ramp by a man
Samuel plays Boccia as part of the Gotcha Boccia programme in 2023

What is Boccia?

This sport is essentially a game of strategy and accuracy, originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy, but now the sport includes athletes with impairments that affect motor skills.

Boccia involves a high degree of muscle control, concentration, accuracy, precision and tactical awareness. The sport involves throwing leather balls onto a small indoor court, with the aim to land the ball as close as possible to a white target ball. All Para athletes are wheelchair-based and play their ball in a variety of different ways. Some Para athletes use a ramp to project their ball with a sports assistant to help them, while others throw their balls independently.

Boccia in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Para athletes started on the World Boccia scene at the 1995 Sydney World Cup. Since then, New Zealand’s Boccia Para athletes have finished in the top ten and top five rankings across several classifications on many occasions.

In New Zealand, Boccia is currently played widely at the community level. Register with Paralympics New Zealand to find Para sport opportunities near you.

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Who is eligible for Boccia?

Boccia is split into four classes, BC1-4, where all players compete in wheelchairs due to severe co-ordination impairment affecting both legs and arms. Eligible impairment types include impaired muscle power, athetosis, impaired passive range of movement, hypertonia, limb deficiency, ataxia.

 Read more about classification in Para sport.

History of Boccia

Boccia was practiced for many years as a leisure activity. It was then introduced at the New York 1984 Paralympic Games as a competitive sport.

Twelve New Zealanders have represented New Zealand in Boccia at the Paralympic Games, most recently at Beijing 2008.

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