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July 2003

Boccia? Its FUN!

Boccia game in progress.

By Maree Ireland

My name is Maree Ireland I have been playing Boccia since 1998. I find this sport is the first sport that I have been able to take seriously and compete at both state and national level. I first started playing purely as a social and fun thing on a Friday night. Then I discovered I was rather good at it. I heard that there were national and international tournaments so I thought I would "have a go". I have now competed in several competitions internationally in Hong Kong and New Zealand and several national competitions. There are also a number of Victorian Athletes who have successfully competed in two Paralympic Games.

Boccia is a modified version of the Italian lawn bowls game, Bocce. Boccia has been modified so people with disabilities, mostly people with cerebral palsy can play. Athletes are able to throw, bowl, kick or use assistive devices such as ramps, to propel leather balls as close as possible to a white target ball. (the jack.) In an individual match, each player throws six balls and four ends are played, with the top two players from each pool advancing. Boccia needs to be played on a flat smooth surface by either individuals or teams.

Boccia made its debut as a medal sport in the Paralympic Games in the 1992 Barcelona Games. The game originated long ago in the Italian Alps and its popularity has now spread worldwide with athletes with cerebral palsy especially within the Asian countries where competitions are taken very seriously.

Jarod's Birthday!


Most players have the support of family, friends and support workers. There is an Australian Association and we have now formed our Association called Boccia Victoria. This year we are holding the National and State Finals in Broadmeadows Victoria. This has only eventuated through the unrelentless work and effort by our Boccia Victoria Committee, especially our President and his family.

It is fortunate that in Victoria, we have several families and supporters who have been willing to put in their effort and time to bring about the National competition in Victoria in early July. It is unfortunate though that this sport is not more recognised and supported by people and organisations so that the opportunity for competition for athletes with disabilities would become easier to organise and the effort would not always be placed on a small group of people.

Hopefully, the upcoming National Tournament in Broadmeadows on 4th-6th July will bring about publicity and awareness, interest and support (in every way possible) from within the community. If you are interested, please visit the Boccia Victoria web site or contact Ray Brearley (President):

Boccia techniques, showing ramp and throwing.

Editor's note

Boccia is played in over 40 countries around the world. In Australia it is quite new, yet growing at a steady rate in most states. There are Boccia Clubs around Victoria that will be competing in the National Championships and it is hoped that more people in wheelchairs will become interested in the sport. The Club relies on fundraising, donations and community support to assist the athletes, volunteers and officials in their endeavours and for awareness raising. Sponsors are being sought for monetary or product donations (that can be raffled). Please contact Ray Brearley if you are able to help.

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