While many people are familiar with the recreational backyard game of bocce, the Paralympics adopted its close cousin, boccia, in its 1984 games. Boccia is national and international level event participated in by athletes who require a wheelchair because of physical disability.
At the 2012 National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in Richmond, boccia was played as an exhibition event. “This got started a couple years ago when on organizer of boccia set up informally at the Games just to let people try it,” said Tom Brown, director of the 2012 NVWG for Paralyzed Veterans of America and one of the original organizers of the NVWG.
Although boccia was scheduled for the day NVWG participants were arriving, more than 60 people took part on three courts. “People really loved it,” Brown said, but doesn’t predict it as a medal event for the 33rd NVWG in Tampa. “But you never know,” he added.
Jeanene LeSure, local organizing committee coordinator for the Tampa games said that they haven’t established what new events might debut in Tampa but said that it’s definitely a possibility that boccia will be back as an exhibition event. “We want to look at some recreational events—things people could do at home—in the mix of things we will offer,” LeSure said. “Boccia definitely fits into that category.”
More about the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Tim W. Jackson is a freelance writer and editor in Asheville, N.C.