As Olympics close, campus prepares for Paralympics

Boccia ball may not be the household word that basketball or baseball is on the Emory campus, but the Emory community will have the opportunity to see some first-rate boccia ball played on campus at the 1996 Paralympic Games.

Scheduled for Aug. 18-22 in the P.E. Center Arena, the boccia ball competition will include 64 athletes with cerebral palsy in both team and individual competition. The athletes represent 11 countries including Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Norway, South Korea, Austria and New Zealand.

Karen Salisbury, director of University Conferences and Emory's Paralympic Games coordinator, said that in comparison to the Olympic Games, the Paralympics will have a minor impact on the campus. Salisbury said Emory will house less than 300 people for the Paralympic Congress, an academically-oriented conference that will take place before the Paralympics. The participants will be housed in Harris Hall Aug. 12-17. "They won't be eating here or meeting here," Salisbury said. "They'll just be staying here and going downtown to the Paralympic Congress, and no one else will be housed on campus."

A limited amount of signage will be posted to direct spectators to Peavine parking deck. Organizers expect no more than 250 spectators per day during the Games.

The P.E. Center arena and some locker rooms will be the only secured areas for the competition, said Salisbury. Most of the P.E. Center will be open to faculty, staff and students during the competition period.

Salisbury said that Howard Bailey, competition manager and venue director for boccia ball, is one of the world's foremost authorities on boccia ball and is responsible for the sport being included in the Paralympics.

In boccia ball players throw leather balls as close as possible to the jack (target). Points are awarded by the referee according to the placement nearest to the jack.

Individual boccia is played with six balls per player. Players are split into even pools, using a round robin format. In each individual match, four ends are played with the top two players from each pool advancing. If the competitors are tied after regulation play, extra ends are played until the tie is broken. The format for team competition is the same, except each match consists of six ends. An end is one section of a match when the jack ball and all the balls have been played by two sides.

For Paralympic ticket information, call (404) 724-2849. For information on Paralympic volunteering, call (404) 724-2865.

--Dan Treadaway

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