Indian Army Takes Lead in Promoting Boccia Sports Along With Paralympics Committee of India
The 7th Boccia National Championship was conducted from 28 February to 04 March 2023 at the Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre, Delhi Cantonment. As a sport, Boccia is predominantly played by athletes with cerebral palsy but has now expanded to include athletes with other disabilities that affect players motor skills. The sports is played with a ball. All athletes are required to be seated when releasing the ball and most play from a wheelchair. Athletes can throw, kick, or even use a ramp to get the ball where one wants it to go. At Paralympic level, Boccia is one of only two sports which do not have an Olympic counterpart.
Indian Army has taken lead in promoting Boccia. Towards that end, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between Mission Olympics Wing of the Indian Army and Paralympics Committee of India for promoting Paralympics movement in the country and providing a platform for transition of specially abled Indian Army Soldiers into para-athletes.
As part of this unique initiative, the Indian Army, through Headquarter Delhi Area and Mission Olympics Wing, extended full support in coordinating and conducting the event. The Indian Army also fielded a six members veteran team from the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Kirkee (Pune) in the National Championship.
Prior to commencement of the championship, all participants were classified into categories commensurate to their disability. Approximately seventy wheel chair bound para athletes from 21 states participated in the championship. Students from the Indian Army run Asha Schools for the differently abled also witnessed the games. Lieutenant General Dhiraj Seth, General Officer Commanding Delhi Area was the Chief Guest for the closing and prize distribution ceremony organised on 04 March 2023. The General Officer witnessed the final match and awarded medals and trophy to the winners.
The Boccia National Championship under the aegis of Headquarter Delhi Area has been a landmark event for the Army as it opens new avenues of participation in Boccia Sports for Indian Army’s serving soldiers and veterans. The winners of the event will compete in the Asian Boccia Regional Championship at Hong Kong scheduled in May 2023. The Gold Medalist from the Hong Kong event will directly get a berth in the Para Olympics in the Paris in September 2024