Outside of the Paralympics, the World Championships are the biggest event in the boccia calendar...and the 2018 World Championships are being held in Liverpool, so Support through Sport UK went along to support!
 
What is boccia?
 
A natural first question you might have is: "what is boccia?" and the simple answer is that it's similar to bowls. Two sides (which might comprise individuals, pairs or threes) throw either blue or red leather balls (determined via a coin toss) as close as they can to a smaller, white target ball: the jack. The sport was designed specifically for para-athletes and thus the leather balls can be thrown, rolled, kicked or launched from a ramp. At the end of each round (in which six blue and six red balls have been tossed), the referee measures the distance of the closest red and the closest blue ball from the jack and gives a point to the team with the shortest distance. He or she then measures the distance of the second closest red and the second closest blue ball from the jack and gives a point to the team with the shortest distance (and so it goes on). The team or individual with the highest number of points at the end of all of the rounds (of which there are usually four or six) wins the match (or an extra round is played in the event of a draw). Boccia is played on a flat, smooth court measuring 12.5 by six metres.
 
Who is competing at the 2018 Boccia World Championships?
 
190 athletes are competing at the 2018 Champs from across 33 different countries.
 
What are the different classifications?
 
BC1 - Players with cerebral palsy who are able to use their hands or feet to consistently propel a ball into play. BC1 athletes may have an aide on court to pass them their ball before each shot.
BC2 - Players with cerebral palsy who are able to use their hands to consistently propel a ball into play and have greater functional ability than a BC1 athlete.
BC3 - Players with cerebral palsy or other disability with locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs who are unable to throw or kick a ball into play and as such are permitted to use an assistive device such as a ramp to propel the ball into play and are supported by an assistant ('ramper').
BC4 - Players who do not have cerebral palsy but have another disability with locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs and have similar functional ability to BC2 athletes. Disabilities such as muscular dystrophy and tetraplegia will fall under this classification.
 
 
Both the individual and team events are mixed.
 
Tell us about the 2018 World Champs British Team
 
We're fielding ten players: David Smith, Stephen McGuire, Claire Taggart, Jamie McCowan, Patrick Wilson, Jess Hunter, Evie Edwards, Ricky Stevenson, Will Hipwell and Louis Saunders.
 
Smith won individual gold at Rio, Stephen McGuire is the defending BC4 World Champion and Claire Taggart won team gold at the 2015 European Championships...so this is a squad with some serious pedigree.
 
How are the team doing so far?
 
We're delighted to say that, on Wednesday, David Smith won individual gold.
 
Where can I find out more about boccia?
 
Check out Boccia UK's website here. To find a club near you, check out our para sports clubs pages or pop your postcode into Boccia England's Club Finder here.