Via Inside the Games
Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) President David Hadfield has claimed that 2016 was the “most successful year yet” in the history of the sport.
Hadfield made the assertion during his New Year’s message to BISFed members, where he looked back on the governing body’s achievements over the past 12 months.
He said that boccia is the “fastest growing” Paralympic sport, while reflecting that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games “produced the most competitive boccia event yet, with an ever higher level of skill on display to record spectator numbers”.
The governing body’s “Making Boccia Accessible” scheme, which is supported by the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, UK Sport, GB Boccia and law firm Hogan Lovells, was also reflected upon.
It is claimed the programme, which aims to train “ambassadors” in the sport across the world, has helped to introduce boccia to 23 countries which did not have an active presence.
A total of 10,000 people are believed to have participated in the sport as a result of the scheme, with Hadfield stating that BISFed are seeking additional funding to deliver the next stage of the project.
Bahrain, Costa Rica and India were all welcomed to the fold during 2016, taking the number of total member countries to 57.
The number of world ranking events was quadrupled during the 2013 to 2016 quadrennial, while BISFed developed a software system to help support operations and manage competitions effectively.
The competition management system will be used for the first time this year, with the governing body describing it as “world class”.
Updated rules and new tests for boccia balls are set to be completed before this year’s competition schedule begins, while a coaching pathway is expected to be published later in 2017.
Hadfield also encouraged members to consider candidates for elections to the BISFed Board, with several existing members required to step down when their terms come to an end at the governing body’s General Assembly.
The Assembly will take place in Hong Kong on May 27, following the conclusion of the Asia and Oceania Regional Championships.
The BISFed Competition Committee presented their proposal for the 2017-2020 Competition System at the BISFed Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in March 2016, and the new Competition System was approved and published in July 2016 . In the feedback session at the EGM, it was agreed that a reliable World Ranking system was a key component of an effective competition system. The Committee explained that developing a World Ranking system which would support the new Competition System would be our next priority.
The Competition Committee is now working on a project to update and revise the world ranking system. Most of this work has focused on the key principles that should be underpin an effective ranking system (for example awarding equal points for 1st place at the same type of event held in different regions) and aligning those principles to the proposed events for the 2017-2020 cycle.
With support from UK Sport, BISFed is currently working with a team of mathematical and statistical experts who have expertise in developing ranking systems.
Our aim is to develop a new World Ranking system which will be used in BISFed competitions. The BISFed Board is monitoring the project closely and will provide an update before 31st December 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact Dom Tremblay, Chair of the BISFed Competitions Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
The BISFed Competition Committee would like to announce the provisional calendar of events for 2017. These events are confirmed subject to contracts so some information may change.
- BISFed 2017 European Regional Open, Saint Cugat – 13-20 April 2017
- BISFed 2017 Asian Regional Open, Dubai – 14-21 April 2017
- BISFed 2017 Americas Regional Open, Montreal – 27-30 April 2017
- BISFed 2017 Asian Regional Championships, Hong Kong – 21-29 May 2017
- BISFed 2017 European Regional Championships, Povoa – 17-24 June 2017
- BISFed 2017 European Regional Open, Poznan – 5-10 July 2017
- BISFed 2017 European World Open, Seville – 31 July – 7 August 2017
- BISFed 2017 Americas Regional Championships, Cali – 14-21 August 2017
- BISFed 2017 Americas World Open, Kansas – 22-29 September 2017
- BISFed 2017 Asian World Open, Bangkok – 2-11 October 2017
- BISFed 2017 Americas Regional Open, Mar del Plata – to be confirmed (Nov/Dec 2017)
The rules committee has been working long and hard sifting through the proposals and responses from our members. We specifically considered FAIRNESS and EQUALITY when making these decisions.
After many hours and much debating we have our first draft of the 12th edition ready to present to you. These rule changes were proposed and accepted from survey results. In page 3 of the Rule book you will notice that we ask for your observances throughout 2017.
The rules are set for 2017. We are accepting comments regarding structure, wording and grammar until Dec 9, 2016. After which, we will have them checked by a law firm. We plan to publish the final version in early January.
- We listened to the athletes. We agree, ramp restrictions make pointer length and seat height restrictions unnecessary.
- We have added more clarity by having better definitions and arranging the rules in chronological order.
- Again, we heard what the athletes are asking. More freedom for BC3 in the throwing boxes – many of the athletes asked for this to equalize sighting capabilities and to be on par with the other divisions that already have freedom in the throwing boxes.
- Penalty balls – athletes expressed concern that often throwing a penalty ball put them at risk of losing points they just earned, because all the balls are so close together around the Jack, especially when playing at the International level. A clear shot to earn the penalty point would be more fair. We have a unique and elegant sport. Spectators understand penalties where the playing field is cleared and the athlete gets a free shot at the target. This benefits the athletes, makes things clearer to the spectators and as a bonus helps the referee. There are some athletes who have already been working on this shot. Reports that have come in, show that success has increased dramatically in just 2 weeks of practicing this shot.
- We listened to the coaches. They asked for more opportunities to coach the Team and Pairs athletes. Now they are permitted to come and speak to them between every end.
With all of us working together Boccia becomes better and better.
With 85 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Tuesday (14 June), the medals which athletes will compete for this September have been revealed by the Organising Committee and Brazilian Mint.
In addition to featuring braille, the Paralympic Games medals include a special innovation; they have a tiny device inside which makes a noise when the medal is shaken, allowing visually impaired athletes to know if they are gold, silver or bronze (gold has the loudest noise, bronze the quietest).
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will feature 4,350 athletes who will compete in 528 medal events across 22 sports. They will take place between 7-18 September.
Brazilian boccia star Maciel Santos hailed the new venue for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, as it was unveiled on Saturday (14 May).
“For me the Paralympic Games start now,” the London 2012 gold medallist said during the inauguration of the venue.
Carioca Arena 2, which will also stage judo and wrestling during the Olympic Games, was unveiled in the Barra Olympic Park. Santos, who won gold in the individual BC2 category in London, and will compete at the new arena in September, has already started to envisage stepping out in front of a home crowd.
“You see yourself, the court, the crowd, your relatives, the Brazilian fans. It will be like how we saw in London. I hope the Brazilian public really gets behind this Paralympic sport,” he said.
Brazilian Olympic champion Sarah Menezes was also excited by the opening of the new arena.
“To see everything ready like this is even more motivation. It’s a sign that it’s nearly here, it’s close,” said the gold medallist in the up to 48kg class at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. “It’s good to know that everything is on track, that the structural things are being sorted.”
The keys to the new venue were handed over from Rio mayor Eduardo Paes to Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman. Also present was Christope Dubi, the International Olympic Committee’s sports director, and Brazil’s new sports minister Leonardo Picciani, on his first official engagement.
Dubi was full of praise for the new venue, saying: “When you see an arena like this, everyone [involved] should be proud and I hope they are.”
After the Games, Carioca Arena 2 will become a training facility for weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, fencing, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline gymnastics and table tennis. It will comprise part of the Olympic Training Centre, the main sporting legacy of the Rio 2016 Games.
A rundown on the athletes battling for the boccia podium at Rio 2016 from the International Paralympic Committee.
Han Soo Kim playing Boccia against Scott Mccowan at London 2012 © • Getty Images
Here are the top athletes going for gold in boccia at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Daniel Perez (NED)
Perez is currently the world No. 1 in the BC1 individual and will be looking for his first major title at Rio 2016, which would be his Paralympic debut.
In the World Championships in 2014, Perez lost his semi-final to Great Britain’s David Smith, leaving with the bronze medal. In 2015, Perez won gold at the World Open in Poznan, Poland. Perez will try to bounce back though after a disappointing performance from March’s 2016 BISFed Individual World Championships, where he left without a medal.
David Smith (GBR)
Smith won individual silver and team BC1-2 bronze at his home Paralympics in London 2012. In 2013, he won the European title and the following year, he added the world title in Beijing. He finished 2015 ranked second in the world. After the 2016 World Championships in Beijing, China, Smith will be looking to show he can do better following the individual bronze medal finish.
Dirceu Jose Pinto (BRA)
Since Beijing 2008, Pinto has dominated the BC4 in both the individual and pairs. But the class lately has proven to be unpredictable ahead of September’s Paralympics. At the 2016 World Championships in March, Pinto was knocked out early by Hong Kong’s current No. 1 Yuk Wing Leung. Still, Pinto looks to defend the gold medal he won from London 2012, as well as the BC4 pairs gold medal that he won with teammate Eliseu Dos Santos.
Han Soo Kim (KOR)
At London 2012 in the BC3 individual event, Kim lost the semi-finals to Ye Jin Choi, who went on to win the gold. However, in 2014 he won the individual BC3 world title and finished 2015 ranked third in the world. He took bronze in the 2016 Individual World Championships.
Jacob Thomas (GBR)
Thomas made his Paralympic debut in London 2012, and that is where the young athlete got the ball rolling. At the 2013 European Championships in Guimaraes, Portugal, he obtained his first major medal with bronze in the pairs. He also took bronze at the 2014 Individual World Championships and has progressed to No. 1 in the individual BC3 class. Although he did not compete in March’s World Championships, he looks to establish why he is ranked at the top of his class at Rio 2016.
Maciel Sousa Santos (BRA)
Santos has consistently been among the top of his class, both in individual and pair events. At London 2012, Santos topped the BC2 class to win his first Paralympic gold and took bronze at the 2014 World Championships. He was in the Brazilian team that won gold in the team BC1-2 event at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, where he also took the individual title. However, in the 2016 World Championships, he finished a disappointing eighth but looks to show why he is still the top one come Rio 2016.
Marco Dispaltro (CAN)
At the 2011 Parapan American Games, Dispaltro took silver in the individual BC4 event and was part the pair that claimed bronze at London 2012. He finished 2015 ranked second in the world but faces stiff competition in the BC4, with rivals such as Leung and Pinto in the mix.
Yuk Wing Leung (HKG)
Rio would be Leung’s fourth Paralympic Games. Leung made his mark in Athens 2004, where he won gold in the BC4 individual and pairs events, but he has not won a Paralympic title since.
The current world No. 1 and Laureus Sports Award nominee finished the 2016 World Championships with bronze and looks to take a title in Rio 2016.
Boccia can be played on a recreational an or competitive basis. Competitions are organized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. The international competition calendar is based on the Summer Paralympic Games quadrennial, with international regional championships in the first year, world championships in the second year, world cup in the third year, and the Paralympic games in the fourth year.
There are approximately 350 internationally-ranked boccia players.
179 athletes from 24 countries and regions attended the 2007 Boccia World Cup during May 9–19, 2007 in Vancouver, BC, Canada for their last opportunity for classification and achieve international ranking for the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.
88 athletes from 19 countries competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing held 7 to 17 September. Brazil and Korea were ranked first equal over all, both countries finishing with two gold medals and one bronze medal each.
Athletes from 36 countries attended the 2010 Boccia World Championships, and 28 countries participated in the team competition. The balance of power in recent years has shifted from European dominance to a more world wide competitiveness with Brazil leading the BC4s and Korea the BC3s. The dominant force of the Mixed Team has only recently changed hands from GB to Korea but the former power houses Spain and Portugal can never be ruled out.
To be eligible to compete in boccia at national or international level, athletes must have a disability and be in a wheelchair, as a result of cerebral palsy, or another neurological condition that has similar effects, such as muscular dystrophy or traumatic brain injury. Players are examined to determine the extent of their disability and then assigned to a sport class, designed to allow them to compete against other athletes with a similar level of physical function.
Boccia players are assigned to one of four sport classes: depending on their functional ability:
- BC1 – Players in this class throw the ball with the hand or foot. They may compete with an assistant who stays outside of the competitor’s playing box, to stabilize or adjust their playing chair and give the ball to the player when requested.
- BC2 – Players in this class throw the ball with the hand. They are not eligible for assistance.
- BC3 – Players in this class have very severe locomotor dysfunction in all four extremities. Players in this class have no sustained grasp or release action and although they may have arm movement, they have insufficient range of movement to propel a Boccia ball onto the court. They may use an assistive device such as a ramp to deliver the ball. They may compete with an assistant; assistants must keep their back to the court and their eyes averted from play.
- BC4 – Players in this class have severe locomotor dysfunction of all four extremities as well as poor trunk control. They can demonstrate sufficient dexterity to throw the ball onto the court. Players are not eligible for assistance.