SA to host Africa's first World Boccia Africa Regional Championships

Boccia (pronounced ‘Bot-cha’) is a game designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function.

The South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) will be hosting the World Boccia Africa Regional Championships. Picture: @SASAPD/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) will be hosting the World Boccia Africa Regional Championships in the Ekurhuleni region, from 16 May to 23 May.

Boccia (pronounced ‘Bot-cha’) is a game designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function.

The World Boccia Africa Regional Championships will be hosted in collaboration with the World Boccia Sports Federation (BISFED), which is responsible for governing Boccia and for representing the sport on the global stage.

Boccia is a Paralympic sport introduced in 1984 when 19 athletes represented five different countries.

Now, boccia is practiced in more than 75 countries worldwide, and it has no Olympic counterpart.

"This championship will bring about significant benefits to the African Boccia Community and the development of the sport in Africa. As this will be the first International Boccia event held on the African continent, a higher level of sports performance and wider public interest and participation in disability sports will raise the morale of the community," said SASAPD.

HOW IS IT PLAYED?

Athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto the court with the aim of getting closest to a "jack" ball.

The sport is played indoors on a court similar in size to a badminton court.

The aim of the game is to get closer to the jack than your opponent. The jack ball is white and is thrown first.

One side has six red balls and the other has six blue balls.

The balls are leather containing plastic granules so they don't bounce but will still roll.

The side whose ball is not closest to the jack throws until they get a ball closest or until they run out of balls.

Once all the balls have been thrown one side receives points for every ball they have closer to the jack than their opponent's closest ball.

The president of World Boccia, David Hadfield, and seven international technical officials will be attending the World Boccia Africa Regional Championships, the first on African soil.

"The SASAPD council remains committed to promoting the development of disability sports in South Africa, and recognises this event as an Elite event on the 2022 calendar," said SASAPD.