Cerebral Palsied Played BocciaSeptember 19, 2009
“Boccia (pronounced /ˈbɒtʃə/, BOCH-ə) is a traditional recreational sport for athletes who require a wheelchair because of physical disability. Also known as bocce, it’s name is derived from the latin word for ball – bottia. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills. In 1984 it became a Paralympic sport, and in 2008 was being practiced in over fifty countries worldwide. Boccia is governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) and is one of three Paralympic sports that have no counterpart in the Olympic program.”
The first time I heard the word boccia was last year during the International Day of PWDs when I got to talk with an officer of PHILSPADA. I could not imagine how it is being played especially by persons with cerebral palsy until yesterday when I saw it for myself at Mauway Gymnasium in Mandaluyong right beside the Mental Health Institution Compound. It is Cerebral Palsy Awareness and Protection Week* [September 16-22] and this year’s theme is “Ang CP (Cerebral Palsied): Kabalikat sa Kalikasan” taking full cognizance of access to all human rights and endeavors that include the CPs so that they may enjoy productive life.
It was actually curiosity that led me with enthusiasm to go see for myself how the CPs play it. Mr. Peewee Kapunan, founder of the Cerebral Palsied Association of the Philippines (CPAP) and its current president, Charito Manglapus both played the game but they were in two different categories. They were grouped according to their “strength” in throwing the ball. I shot some footages and interviewed Marangal and his father, Mr. Octavio Gonzales who coached the players, about the introduction of the game here in the country. The former went with our CP players in Thailand a couple years ago to compete. I hope to use those footages for my docu on the CPs which I am doing on and off because of my other activities.
“Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs, or teams of three and all events are mixed gender. The aim of the game is to throw leather balls – coloured red or blue (which side gets which is determined by a coin toss) – as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack. The jack is thrown first, then each side takes turns to propel their ball towards the jack. The balls can be moved with hands, feet, or, if the competitor’s disability is severe, with an assistive device such as a ramp. At the end of each round, or end, the referee measures the distance of the balls closest to the jack, and awards points accordingly – one point for each ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest ball. The team/player with the highest number of points at the end of play is the winner. If both teams have the same amount of points after all ends have been played, one additional end is played to determine a winner.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boccia]
(For details on the declaration of September 16-22 annually as Cerebral Palsy Awareness and Protection Week* click the page on the right column entitled Proclamation No. 588.) Or, click NCDA site below: