The Sport

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

The sport is played on a flat, smooth surface, where players must throw or roll coloured balls as close as possible to a white target ball, known as the “jack.” The player, pair or team with the most balls near the jack is the winner.

The individual and pair matches consist of four ends, while team matches have six ends. After each end, the athlete, pair or team with the ball closest to the jack receive one point, and an additional point for every ball that is closer to the jack than their opponent’s.

Each athlete, pair or team “throws” six balls per end.

Boccia Classes (BCs)

BC1: Players in this class throw the ball with the hand or foot. They may compete with an assistant who stays outside of 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 with an assistant; assistants must keep their back to the court and their eyes averted from play.

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 is perhaps the earliest game ever played by mankind, with roots in ancient Greece and Egypt. It has roots in Greece, where players threw large stones at a stone target. There were also objects and mural engravings relating to a similar form of the sport that were found as early as 5200 BC during the excavation of the tombs in Egypt. The sport was also played in market places and in the streets during the Middle Ages, and the word ‘boccia’ is derived from the Italian meaning to bowl.

One of the most famous games of boccia was played by Sir Francis Drake and Lord Howard in Plymouth, England, in 1588. They played whilst waiting for the arrival of the Spanish Armada and Sir Francis Drake insisted on finishing the game before sailing out to defeat the enemy.

The sport eventually became wide spread and was initially designed for people with cerebral palsy. It is now played by people who have any kind of neurological impairment that affects their motor function.

Paralympic Debut

Boccia was practised for many years as a leisure activity before being introduced at the New York 1984 Paralympics as a competitive sport. It is one of only two Paralympic sports that do not have an Olympic counterpart (goalball being the other) and is governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed).

Iran Boccia
 In Iran, Boccia was first practiced in 2004. Two years later, in 2006, the first group of Iranian athletes were sent to Malaysia to take part in the 2006 FESPIC Games and compete against the Asian competitors.
Currently, Boccia is played in the majority of the provinces across the country, under the supervision of Iran Sports Federation for the Enabled (IRISFE) which is member and also under support of I.R.I NPC.


Watch an introduction to Boccia on Paralympic Sports A-Z: Boccia

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