Disability Sports NI is Northern Ireland’s main disability sports organisation and is recognised by Sport Northern Ireland as the key body responsible for the development of sport and physical recreation for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.
Established in 1997, to tackle the under representation of people with disabilities in sport, the organisation works to achieve equality of opportunity for people with disabilities to take part in sport and physical recreation at a level of their choice.
The organisation currently runs a range of events, participation programmes, training courses and services, all designed to give local disabled children and adults the opportunity to lead a full and active lifestyle through sport and physical recreation.
We also work closely with Sport Northern Ireland and Governing Bodies of Sport to ensure that our most talented disabled sports people have the opportunity to train, compete and excel in their chosen sport on the world stage.
Disability Sports NI currently has over 100 member groups, made up of disability sports groups, schools and adult centres, and directly runs programmes and events which annually benefit over 10,000 children and adults across Northern Ireland.
Disability Sports NI is a limited company with charitable status. The organisation is a member of the British Paralympic Association, the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disabilities, Disability Action and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA). Disability Sports NI also maintains close links with the Paralympic Council of Ireland.
Boccia has been a Paralympic sport since 1984 and is specifically designed for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function such as cerebral palsy. However at a recreational level boccia is played by people with a range of disabilities in special schools, adult centres and community settings throughout Northern Ireland.
Boccia is played on an area similar to the size of a badminton court with players aiming to propel a set of coloured balls and position them closer to a white marker ball (jack ball) than those of their opponent, on a similar basis to bowls. For a full description of the sport and copy of the rules please click here.
When playing boccia all players compete from a seated position and can throw, roll or kick the balls into the playing area. For players who are unable to throw or kick the ball an assistive device can be used such as a ramp or chute. Balls can be released down the ramp or chute by hand or by using a head pointer, making the sport particularly inclusive of players with high levels of disability.
The game of boccia is organised world wide by Cerebral Palsy – International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA) and at a home country level by GB Boccia and Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland. You can find out more about each of these organisations and the game of boccia by clicking the links below