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CPBPlayed by athletes with high level of cerebral palsy or severe disabilities, boccia made its Paralympic debut in 1984, with events for men and women. Pair competitions started being held in Atlanta 1996.

However, where the sport comes from is somewhat unclear. There is evidence that says that everything started in Ancient Greece and Egypt as a pastime, only becoming a sport later in Italy. In Brazil, boccia arrived with Italian immigrants.

The adapted version of the sport only started to be played in the 1970s. However, before becoming an Olympic sport, boccia had a predecessor at the Paralympic Games. It was a version of the game played on turf, called lawn bowls. In fact, it was in lawn bowls that Brazil won its first Paralympic medal. Robson Sampaio de Almeida and Luiz Carlos ‘Curtinho’ scooped up the silver at the Heidelberg Games in Germany 1972. Brazil has actually won five medals in boccia at the Paralympic Games, three gold and two bronze.

In Paralympic competitions, athletes use wheelchairs and have to release the coloured balls so that they get as close as they can to the white ball. Athletes may use their hands, feet, aid instruments and even assistants, in the case of athletes with high level of disability in the limbs.


Athletes are classified as CP1 (more severe disability) or CP2 and are put into four classes:

CP1 or CP2 athletes with cerebral palsy who can compete with the aid of assistants.

CP2 athletes with cerebral palsy, not allowed to have any assistance.

Athletes with very severe disabilities, use an aid instrument and may be helped by someone else.

Athletes with other severe disabilities, but who do not have any assistance.

The events

There are individual, pair and team events.


Athletes with higher levels of disabilities are allowed to use a spout in order to transfer more propelling force to the ball. For instance, quadriplegic athletes, who are unable to move their arms and legs, wear a band or helmet on their helmets, with a needle at the end.  The spout operator positions the chute in front of them, so that they may push the ball through the instrument using their heads.

See also:

National Association of Sports for the Disabled (ANDE)