From Tuesday, Aug. 8 to Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, the game of strategy and precision called Boccia will take center stage at the European Para Championships. Boccia is played on a flat and smooth surface, with players throwing or rolling colorful balls with the aim of placing them as close as possible to a white target ball, known as the “jack.” Whoever manages to get the most balls close to the jack wins the game. The sport includes several categories and formats:
– Men’s and Women’s individual:
o BC1: athletes with severe coordination disabilities who play the ball by hand or foot.
o BC2: athletes with a coordinative disability who may throw the ball by hand.
o BC3: athletes with severe physical disabilities who play the ball using a roller gutter. It can be played by athletes with cerebral palsy, muscle disease, spinal cord injury or other neurological conditions.
o BC4: athletes with severe limitations in strength who play the ball by hand or foot.
– Mixed team: BC1 and BC2.
– Mixed pairs: BC3 and BC4.
Some notable athletes and biggest contenders in different classes are:
The only Dutch representative in the individual tournament is Daniel Perez. Daniel Perez has been playing Boccia since 1995 and is part of the BC1 category. Daniel will be in action on Tuesday, August 8, from 6:15 to 7:15 pm.
In individual men’s BC1, David Smith is one of the biggest contenders. With already some impressive results in 2022 and 2023, he is well at the top of the world rankings with 134 points.
Among the women in the BC1, this is true of Dora Basic. She has consistently been very close to tournament wins, and she may be able to pull this off at EPC2023 with a European title.
Claire Taggart is another notable name to keep an eye on. With multiple tournaments wins under her belt, including at Rio 2022.
In the BC3 Pairs category, Greece rises above it in the world rankings, compared to the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, we consider Poland, France, and Portugal to be formidable competitors. By contrast, in the Teams, Great Britain is the top favorite. With Portugal and the Netherlands as the biggest competitors.