Only played in a few parts of the country, boccia is an attack and defend game, with two teams competing over a set number of ends. The aim of the game is to score as many points as possible by placing their set of coloured balls closest to the white jack ball.
The game was first designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy, but now includes athletes with other disabilities affecting motor skills.
It became a Paralympic sport in 1984. Now, Ektha, that works towards making the rights real for persons with disabilities have started a crowd-funding campaign on Milaap, to conduct a national level tournament in August 2018 at Adventure Zone, Madhurandhagam, Chennai.
“We believe that sports and leisure activities are as important a right as any other rights. These rights denied persons with disabilities especially persons with severe disabilities. This is the only game that can be adapted for us,” claimed the Ektha organising team, which also has several members with disabilities.
Satish Kumar, one of the boccia coordinators and members says that they were inspired after witnessing the game being played at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
“We started spreading awareness about the game then, and currently there are over 25 teams in Tamil Nadu. For the event, we are expecting over 200 members from across the country to come and participate. This will help us pick people and develop a team to represent India.”
Ektha has already conducted over 100 camps across Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Bengaluru, and three State-level tournaments.
“This is the ideal time to spread boccia’s wings across the country. We are looking for some support in terms of funding for our participants, which comes upto seven lakhs. We really hope the public keeps our disabled community in mind and comes forward to help us represent India globally soon,” said Kumar.