The precision ball sport of Boccia is very similar to bocce, bowls and pétanque, and is a mixed gender game played either indoors or outdoors. The sport is specifically for athletes with physical disabilities played at a local, national, and international level. It was originally created for athletes with cerebral palsy, but now all with affected motor skills are also able to participate. The sport took a significant step forward to global recognition when it became a Paralympic sport in 1984 and by 2020 has 75 national sport organizations countries worldwide. Eligibility for athletes at a national or international level is dependent on a disability and a wheelchair dependency brought on by cerebral palsy. Other neurological conditions brought on by muscular dystrophy or a traumatic brain injury that has given rise to similar effects, will also count toward eligibility to take part. Players are examined and based on the extent of the disability, are then assigned to a specific sport class, ensuring that athletes of a very similar disability compete against each other. There are four classes assigned:
BC1 – players throw the ball with the hand or foot and have an assistant close by to stabilize the chair or provide the balls when requested.
BC2 – players throw the ball with the hand and do not have an assistant
BC3 – players have a very severe locomotor dysfunction in all four of the extremities and they do not have sustained grasp or release action. They may have a device like a ramp to help release the ball.
BC4 – players have a very severe locomotor dysfunction and poor trunk control but can throw the ball onto the court. They also have no assistance.
Like all boules sports, the objective is to get the ball as near as possible to the jack. The balls are either red or blue and a coin toss determines which individual, pair, or team of three is assigned with the colour. The jack is normally white and is always played first. At the end of each round, the referee measures the distance to the balls and awards points accordingly. Boccia is played on a court measuring 12.5 x 6 m and the surface is flat and smooth. The Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) is the highest governing authority for the sport and formally assumed governance on the 1st January 2013 from the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreational Association (CRISRA). BISFed is based in London and has five main objectives. It promotes and supports Boccia as a sport for all people. International governance is achieved through a set of rules, a classification system, and an international competition structure. The federation creates awareness of the sport to stakeholders who will have a direct impact on the sport. It also represents the interests of the members of the Company and through the creation of a network of members and individuals, encourages the exchange of ideas that directly impacts the development of the sport worldwide.