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. 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. 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.
At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, 106 Para athletes from 23 countries competed in 7 different medal events.
For more information on Boccia visit the Boccia International Sports Federation.
In New Zealand, Boccia is currently played widely at the community level. Register your interest now.