Similar to boules, boccia is one of the few Paralympic sports with no Olympic equivalent, and the crowd at the ExCeL exhibition centre’s South Arena 1 were soon getting into the action despite many having no prior knowledge of the game.
“Boccia is a tactical sport like chess, snooker and boxing rolled into one,” said Ireland’s Padraic Moran, following a 17-3 defeat in the team event to world number one South Korea.
“So you don’t really play boccia, you play a mixture of other games. That’s why it’s a difficult game and such a good sport,” he told AFP.
“And this is the best job in the world to have,” he added.
Boccia players throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball from a seated position so that it lands as close as possible to the “jack” target ball.
The leather balls containing plastic granules are designed to roll, although skilful players can make them bounce.
In each “end” in the match, the winning side scores one point for each ball they got closer to the jack than their opponents.
All seven medal events are mixed gender and feature individuals, pairs or teams.