Boccia at the Tokyo Paralympic Games: everything you need to know

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David Smith is the most experienced member of the GB team
Place: Tokyo, Japan Appointment: August 24-September 5 Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Blanket: To be continued on Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Key information

Appointment: August 28-September 4

Place: Ariake Gymnastics Center

Gold medals offered: Seven

How it works?

Boccia is one of three Paralympic sports that has no Olympic equivalent and is aimed at athletes with conditions such as severe cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy that affect all four limbs.

The sport is played indoors on a court similar in size to badminton with players positioned at one end.

Both sides have six balls – one side has red balls, the other has blue balls and the object of the game is to get your balls closer to the target white ball, the jack, as your opponent.

The balls are made of leather and are filled with plastic granules so that they do not bounce and are easy to grip.

Individual and pair matches consist of four ends while team matches have six ends. After all ends have been played, the side with the highest score wins.

To start an end, one side will start the jack. They will then throw their first ball, trying to get as close as possible to it. The other side then tries to throw his ball closer. After that, the side whose bale is not closest to the cylinder throws the next bale. Once all the balls have been played, points are awarded. The side closest to the jack receives one point for each ball it has closer than the ball closest to its opponent.

There are four classifications and all events are mixed.

BC1 players have cerebral palsy and are allowed to use their hands or feet to play the ball. They are allowed to have an assistant on the field to pass the ball to them before throwing.

BC2 players have cerebral palsy and are more able to grip and release the ball. They do not have an assistant on the field and must throw the ball on the field.

BC3 players suffer from cerebral palsy or other conditions and have the highest level of impairment. They are unable to throw or kick the ball and play using a ramp which is positioned by an assistant facing the play and who is not allowed to turn around for the duration of the end. The assistant also places the ball on the ramp for the player to release.

BC4 players do not have cerebral palsy and are able to throw the ball in play.

Who are the British medal hopefuls?

David Smith becomes reigning Paralympic champion in the BC1 category and is also the current world and European champion. In addition to the individual event, Smith and his teammates Claire Taggart and Will Hipwell hope to impress in the BC1 / 2 team event.

Who are the other challengers?

With five medals, including two gold, Thailand was the most successful nation at the Paralympic Games in Rio, but was beaten in first place at the 2018 Worlds by China. Greece, led by Greg Polychronidis, is a regular medalist and South Korea and Slovakia will be chasing the medals.

Did you know?

When his local recreation center closed during the pandemic, newbie Hipwell trained on the family farm, using the grain barn as a temporary court.

Paralympic medals GB Rio 2016

A gold (David Smith)


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