What is goalscoring and boccia, the only Paralympic exclusive sports

SPORT. Golbol is coming to Tokyo 2020 / @ CODESONoficial

The Paralympic Games taking place in Tokyo have stories that surprise every day, both for the athletes who are stars and for the sports they compete in.

Although it is held in almost the same facility as the one used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the logistics are very similar, there are some notable differences between the two events.

In the Paralympics there are 22 sports, which is 11 fewer than in the Olympics, but they have more medal-winning events (540 against 339).

The medals are also somewhat different, the mascots are not the same and, above all, there are two sports that are exclusive to the Paralympics: boccia and goalscoring.

Both of these sports were created for people with mobility difficulties or are visually impaired, unlike other sports which are adaptations of those competed in the Olympics.

At BBC Mundo we explain the origins of these two sports that have starred in the Paralympic Games.


After World War II, hundreds of soldiers experienced vision problems after the conflict.

Around 1946, Hans Lorenzen from Austria and Sepp Reindle from Germany designed a game with the idea of ​​rehabilitating these war veterans.

From there was born “goalball” or “golbol”, a sport consisting of two teams of three people each defending a goal that is about nine meters long.

The idea is to prevent the ball – which has a bell or chimes in it – from entering that arc and scoring.

All players have their eyes closed (to standardize the competition and avoid an advantage) and the idea is to use the whole body to cover the goal.

This is a highly physically demanding sport, as the most trained players can throw the ball at a speed of 70 km / h.

Due to its popularity, it was included as an exhibition sport at the 1976 Paralympics, and medals were awarded at the 1980 Olympics.

At the 2016 Rio Paralympics, gold medals went to the Lithuanian teams for men and Turkey for women.


Boccia is derived from the so-called game of bocce or petanque, which was very popular in Europe but was adapted into a Paralympic sport in 1984.

The idea of ​​the game is to first throw a ball called the “target” or “target” and then throw another six red or blue balls, depending on the team.

Points are accumulated as far as the “target” is hit or the ball is placed as close to this target as possible.

To do this, the players, facing each other in two teams, have the option of rolling the ball, throwing it with their hands or kicking it. Also, in some cases they can use assistive devices to complete the launch.

Being a tactical game, some players can use an assistant to throw the ball for them.

Boccia – which comes from the Latin word bottia, meaning ball – was originally designed for people with severe cerebral palsy, but has since been expanded to other competitors with some physical disabilities.

At the Paralympics, prizes are awarded in three different categories: individuals, couples, or teams. And each of these categories has subdivisions depending on the mobility of the greater or lesser athlete.

Athletes from England and Thailand won gold medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Matt Thompson

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