Boccia, goalball, sitting volleyball: the unique sports of the Paralympic Games



All three are sports unique to the Paralympic Games and although dartcher is no longer a competitive sport at the Quadrennial Games, boccia and goalball will be part of the program for the Tokyo Paralympic Games, which runs from August 24 to September 5. in Japan. Capital city.

In total, the Summer Paralympic Games have 22 sports with para-badminton and para-taekwondo as the latest addition to Tokyo 2020.

As participants in the Paralympic Games have a certain handicap, the rules of Olympic sports have been changed, giving them a special touch to these games and making them different from those which are part of the program of the Olympic Games.

So, let’s get to know boccia and goalball!

Both boccia and goalball are Paralympic sports and are the only two sports on the Paralympic program that do not have an Olympic equivalent.

The roots of boccia can be traced back to ancient Greece, where players threw large stones at a stone target. There were also artefacts and wall engravings relating to a similar form of boccia which were found as early as 5200 BC during the excavation of tombs in Egypt. The sport was also played in markets and on the streets in the Middle Ages, and the word “boccia” is derived from the Italian meaning of bowling.

In modern boccia, the target is a white ball called the “jack”, and whoever throws / rolls his ball closest to the jack scores a point.

The sport is played on a flat, smooth surface, where players must throw or roll colored balls as close to the “jack” as possible. The player, pair or team with the most balls near the jack is the winner.

Individual and pair matches consist of four ends, while team matches have six ends – each athlete, pair or team throws six balls per end. After each end, the athlete, pair or team with the ball closest to the jack receives one point and an additional point for each ball closer to the jack than the opponent. Players in the BC3 class have severe disabilities that affect all limbs and can therefore use an assistive device such as a ramp or a pointer to throw the ball.

A total of seven gold medals will be awarded in boccia at the Tokyo Olympics.

Boccia is a strategy and precision game that was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy. Now the sport includes athletes with disabilities that affect motor skills.

However, the origin of goalball is more recent since it was invented in 1946 to help rehabilitate veterans who lost their sight during World War II. Hans Lorenzen of Austria and Sepp Reindle of Germany are credited with inventing the game.

The basic principle of goalball is to score goals by throwing a 1.25 kg ball quickly and accurately and defending the opposing team’s shots. Each team has three players on the pitch who can use their whole body to stop the ball, throwing themselves to the ground in the correct position. The floor is unpadded and there is no face protection other than sunglasses, which makes goalball a difficult sport both mentally and physically. To make it even more difficult, the goals span the width of the court by 9m.

Darts, which could best be described as a combination of darts and archery, was once part of the Paralympic program. It was even one of the eight sports of the inaugural Games in Rome in 1960 and was staged during the Games of 1964, ’72, ’76 and 1980 before being withdrawn from the program. In darts, participants shot arrows, not at a target but at a dartboard, and competitions were held in individual and pair events for men and women and a mixed pair event.

While these unusual sports give the Paralympic Games a unique flavor, the regular Olympic sports counterparts also have their own rules specific to the Paralympic Games, participants also enjoy special relaxations due to the specific disabilities of the participants.

For example, players are entitled to two bounces of the ball in wheelchair tennis while in wheelchair basketball a player is entitled to two touches of his wheelchair between a dribble, shot or pass. Otherwise, it is a travel offense.

Since athletes with varying levels of visual impairment can compete in goalball, all players must wear glasses to compete and therefore ensure fair competition.

Spectators should be quiet during 5-a-side football and goalball matches as players rely on the sound of the ball.

Five-a-side football is one of the three sports on the Paralympic program exclusively for athletes with a visual impairment.

Five-a-side football is relatively new to the Paralympic Games, having made its debut in Athens in 2004. Six countries took part in the inaugural tournament: Argentina, Brazil, France, Greece, South Korea and South Korea. ‘Spain.

Although it has some similarities to non-Paralympic football, some rule changes have been made. For example, in 5-a-side football at the Paralympic Games, there is no offside rule and players can enter the penalty area with the ball and shoot. The goalkeeper also has a smaller rectangular area in which to stay inside.

There must be complete silence during games to allow players to hear the ball (which has a bell inside), other players, and guide instructions. This means that fans, coaches and teammates are not allowed to cheer or make sounds… until a goal is scored!

Players must be eligible for only one class: B1. This means that they have severe levels of visual impairment such as poor visual acuity and / or no light perception. Athletes must also wear sunglasses during matches, but the goalkeeper, who cannot leave the zone, may be sighted or visually impaired. Visible coaches are posted behind the goal to guide the players in the right direction.

Para-equestrianism is the only artistic sport on the program of the Paralympic Games. It includes mixed dressage events (team, individual and free), with athletes grouped into five classes depending on the nature and extent of their physical or visual impairment.

While Olympic volleyball teams are separated by a raised net (2.43m and 2.24m from the top of the net for men’s and women’s competitions, respectively), sitting volleyball is played from a lower net (1.15 m for men, 1.05 m for women). An important rule of sitting volleyball is that players should be seated and their torso – between the buttocks and shoulders – should remain in contact with the ground when playing the ball.

These special sports and the modifications to regular sports give the Paralympic Games a unique stature and make them enjoyable and highly competitive.


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