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Para Sports & Paralympics

Parasport is the general term for organized sports that are adapted to people with a functional impairment.

As such, the term covers a wide area of sportive activities, from simple adapted sports & games to elite sport performances at the Paralympic Games, held every 4 years, a couple of weeks after the Olympic Games.

Para is a greek word meaning “beside” or “alongside”, signaling that Parasport is parallel and equal to able bodied sports.

How did it all begin?

The two world wars in the 19th. century created an enormous need for rehabilitation of the thousands of wounded and disabled soldiers.

Already back in the 1920ties, disability sports were starting up in Germany, and the movement gained further momentum in the late 1940ties after the end of WWII.

In England, the German neurologist Sir Ludwig Gutmann created the Stoke Mandeville Games for the spinal cord injured, and thus build a vision for the Parasport Movement. 

Guttmann was the first to predict the Paralympic Games when he uttered these prophetic words: Maybe there will someday be an Olympics for people with disabilities.

During the last half of the 19th. century, Parasports was evolving and growing through sports organizations representing a specific disability: the spinal cord injured, the amputees, the visually impaired, people with Cerebral palsy etc. etc.

In 1989 Parasports was taken to the next level with the creation of the International Paralympic Committee, IPC. The worldwide Parasport movement had finally succeeded in creating one overall governing body for disability sports!


All over the world Parasport is growing and evolving, both on grassroot and competition level; there are numerous sport events, nationally, regionally, and internationally. New sports are being developed and with time some of these sports will probably become Paralympic Sports.

However, the most important is not the amazing elite performances at the Paralympics and other international events, even though these are truly great.

As we see it, the most important spinoff from the Paralympic movement is that:

  • Parasport is a stepstone for integration into society, and a direct way for people with disabilities to gain confidence, empowerment, and recognition.
  • Children with disabilities benefit highly from Parasports, as it gives them something to do in the gym and allow them to have fun with sports, just like their peers.
  • Inclusive sports improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, as well as for their able-bodied surroundings.
Equipment for Parasport & Paralympics

Often there is no difference between the equipment used in Parasport and in regular sports; however, there are also special sports products for Parasport.

Sports for the blind and partially sighted will often have tactile or auditory properties; footballs for wheelchair football are extra large, and for special sports such as Boccia and Showdown, unique sports products have been developed.


For inspiration, watch this video about Boccia a Paralympic sport – introducing boccia player Marco Dispaltro, a Paralympic Medallist:

Supplier of Blind footballs to the Rio Paralympic Games 2016, Tokyo2020 Paralympics and many other international competitions:

Below: The Dansih Goalball team for men – ready for a match – they are all wearing Justa Blind Sports Masks.

Goalball match with Justa Masks
Playing Boccia with a ramp

Boccia player using a ramp and a headpointer to play.


Boccia is a ball game of precision and tactic, played indoors on a hard surface (it can also be played outdoors on terraces, or on the lawn). Two players – or two teams – compete. Each player, or team, has six balls of either red or blue. The aim is to place one’s balls closest to the white target ball.

Boccia is an exciting game to perform and to look at – you never know how it will end up until the last ball has been thrown into the court!

Boccia is played at both elite and recreational levels in clubs, schools and activity centres all over the world. Boccia is also a Paralympic sport. Handi Life Sport boccia balls have been used at all Paralympic Games since Seoul 1988, including Rio in 2016 and Tokyo2020.

Handi Life Sport manufactures boccia balls for all purposes: for the boccia club or institution that plays boccia, and for the elite boccia players, who aim for the Paralympics and make special demands for their personal boccia balls. Many elite Boccia players have customized sets specially made for them by Handi Life Sport.

Our bocciaballs are available in the following different categories of hardness – all with the BISFed License Stamp:

  • Hard (Superior Classic and Ledo Suede)
  • Medium-hard
  • Medium
  • Medium-soft
  • Soft
  • Supersoft (Superior Supersoft and Ledo Suede)

Superior Classic boccia balls are available in both 6-panels and 12 panels balls. We also customize boccia sets with balls in different hardnesses to suit the individual player (mixed sets). Check the boccia balls and sets in the shop for more details.

We advise players to store and carry their boccia balls in our specially made Superior Boccia Case or Superior Boccia Backpack, which effectively protects the round shape of the balls.

Boccia players who need assistance in throwing the ball onto the court can do so by using a special boccia ramp. We have different ramps in stock. Look in the shop under the category Ramps and other devices for the boccia player – or write to for more information.

We also carry headpointers for ramp players who release the ball by head movement.

If you have a hard time picking up your boccia balls, use our Boccia Ball Pick up. The Boccia Ball Pick up makes it easy to pick up the balls, even from a seated position. The tube can collect up to six boccia balls at a time.

A novelty in boccia is the Boccia Grid/Touchboard that allows the blind and visually impaired to play boccia as well.

To the Boccia referee

Our referee equipment makes it possible to direct the boccia game and provide the correct ruling.

Showing the referee’s paddle easily signalizes whether red or blue is to throw next. Additionally, the soft, foam-covered referee paddle can be used as convenient knee protection when kneeling down to measure for correct judgement! The hard referee paddle can also be used to stop the boccia balls when rolling out of the court.

Show the match score with our simple Boccia Scoreboard, which is easy to use.

The measuring callipers measure differences in distance even up to the nearest millimeter.

The boccia measuring band is great for measuring distances of up to 3 meters.

To mark up the court we have different kinds of Boccia Tape.

You find all the boccia referee products here in our shop.

boccia player Marco Dispaltro from CanadaA young boccia player


Blind Football, also known as football 5-a-side, is a popular sport that has been featured at the Paralympics since 2004. Today, several of the greatest football clubs has integrated a team for blind football, and the sport is rapidly growing all over the world.

Blind football has been played at special schools for the visually impaired for many years in many different countries. When the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) undertook the task of drawing up a set of shared rules for blind football, the development took off.

National football leagues and continental championships arose, and the first world championship took place in 1998.

Brazil has long been the dominant nation with four world championship titles, followed by Argentina’s two. Today, Brazil are given a run for their money as some of the world’s strongest football nations are also among the very best at blind football: Argentina, Spain, France, England… followed by countries such as China, Morocco and Japan.

Handi Life Sports’ Blue Flame football for the blind is approved for international competitions by IBSA and preferred by most national leagues and international competitions. The ball was chosen as the official blind football at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, at EM in Berlin 2017 and in Paralympic Games in Tokyo2020 – the ball’s design was customized to the events.


About the game:

There are only five players on each team, and the only sighted player is the goalkeeper. All besides the keeper are wearing face masks, and some are wearing protective head gear. The keeper is not allowed to leave the goal area.
5-a-side is played with a size 3 audible futsal ball with low bounce. The players localize the ball exclusively by sound, and they receive instructions on the field from the other players, the coach, a shooting assistant behind the opponent’s goal and the keeper.

It is therefore extremely important that the audience stays silent during the game. The silence builds up the tension, and often culminate in a thunderous roar when a goal is scored.

There are no offside rules in 5-a-side, and the pitch is lined with kickboards. Each half lasts for 20 minutes.
Due to the growing interest in 5-a-side, the level of play on an international level is continually rising, and the games are getting more exciting. This results in increased financial support for the sport in many different countries, and, of course, in a growing number of fans all over the world.

Watch this wonderful video about a blind football player:

blind football goal
Blind football matchPlaying with Rainbow blind football


Goalball is the oldest and most well-known ball game for the blind and visually impaired. It was invented in Germany in the 1950’s, and has been played at all Paralympic Games since 1976.

It is an intense game that makes demands to the players’ physique and ability to cooperate. Two teams play against each other on a court with a goal in each end covering the entire back-line.

There are six players on each team, and the objective is to score in the opponent’s goal with the 1250 gram blue audible rubber ball.

The players use their entire body do guard the goal, and in the attempt to score, the ball is rolled powerfully towards the opponent’s goal.

Players wear eyeshades to protect their eyes and to ensure that all players are completely non-sighted.

Our Goalballs are the official goalball (approved by IBSA). The Goalballs and the special Justa Blind Sports masks are used at international competitions.

Click here to watch some games from Paralympic Games 2016 in Rio on IBSA Goalball YouTube channel.

goalball gamegoalball players


Showdown is a fun and fast-paced game that is mainly played by the blind and visually impaired. It is similar to air hockey and table tennis, but it still has its own unique identity.

The game is played on a rectangular table with 15 cm tall sidewalls and a goal pocket in each end. In the middle of the table is the so-called centreboard screen that allows the ball to pass underneath but not above it.

The players, who are wearing blind folds, are standing at each end of the table, trying to score in the opponent’s goal while protecting their own goal. The rattling plastic ball hits pretty hard, and so the players wear a protective glove on their playing hand.

Everyone can play showdown as long as they are wearing blind folds. It is a great game for people with and without visual impairment to play together.

Showdown is played all over the world, and it is especially common in Canada, South America, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Showdown is a competitive sport for the blind and visually impaired.

Read more about Showdown at IBSA’s website, IBSA’s website, and watch this video about a Swedish boy who plays showdown:

Nikolaj playing showdown



Torball is an indoor ball game for the blind and visually impaired, a sort of ‘goalball light’.

It is played with a 500-gram rubber ball fitted with interior bells, and the players wear facemasks.

Each team consists of three players that must stay on their half of the court at all times. Goals are located at both ends of the court, and the players must guard these goals to prevent the opponent from scoring.

In front of the goals, three parallel ropes are suspended 40 cm above the floor. The ball must roll under these ropes without touching them in order to score a goal.

Torball is popular in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.



The sophisticated Boccia Grid makes it possible to play boccia without vision.

The rubber grid and press-in pegs allow the player to scan or “see” the board with their fingers. The Grid is scaled to the playing area 10 cm to 1 meter.

The pegs have different shapes for the red and blue team. The larger pegs are placed in the grid to represent the players’ sitting position. The other pegs are placed to represent the balls on the court.

This equipment provides a fun and excellent training of focus, tactile senses, coordination, balance and space perception.

It enables visually impaired players to play a tactical game and compete with sighted players.

Playing blind boccia is really fun and a completely new challenge – also for sighted people!

Watch this video for an introduction to play boccia using a Boccia Grid/Touch Board:



Powerchair football, also known as power soccer, is an indoor team sport for people who use power wheelchairs.

Two teams consisting of four players fight for victory during two halves of 15 minutes.

The sport is played with an oversized football (size 32), and the ball is kicked around with metal footguards attached to the power wheelchairs.

Powerchair football make heavy demands to the player’s chair control skill, including controlling the speed, acceleration and precision of the chair.



Tennis for the Blind and Visually Impaired, called Blind Tennis, or VI Tennis, was invented and initiated in Japan in 1984 by Miyoshi Takei, who became an elite player himself. The first ever tennis tournament for the visually impaired took place in Japan, 1990.

Today Blind Tennis is organized by The International Blind Tennis Association (IBTA).

The dream of Miyoshi Takei was that Blind Tennis would one day become a Paralympic Sport; and with its increasing popularity this is highly likely! See Miyoshi Takei play tennis at:

In recent years Blind Tennis has developed and grown, especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries, where VI Tennis is often part of the National Tennis Association.
Blind Tennis is fun to play and has a huge social aspect, as players often meet at camps and festivals.

You play with a Blind Tennis ball – a sponge ball (ø 9 cm) equipped with a mechanical sound device in its centre.
The racquet may have a shorter handle (a junior racket). The players may let the ball bounce up to 3 times before they must return it back to their opponent.

Watch to two videos below – introduction to Blind Tennis made by Metro Blind Sport in UK: