It has been a day of tiebreaks of the BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships. And World number one BC2 Watcharaphon Vongsa of Thailand has a nervous night ahead after he fell to Cristina Goncalves of Portugal.
He will be keen to make amends in his final group match tomorrow in order to book his place in the last 16.
Paralympic 2016 BC4 silver medallist Samuel Andrejcik was the upset of the day. He will now be pinning his medal hopes on the pairs competition after he suffered three straight losses in the pool matches. He is currently ranked sixth in the world but should fare better in the pairs competition with Michaela Balcova which starts Thursday. The duo grabbed gold at the Rio Paralympics.
Fellow British home favourite Stephen McGuire is another step closer to defending his World title after he triumphed over Russia’s Ivan Frolov 11-2. Other names to note in the knock out stages of the BC4 category include Canada’s Alison Levine and Hong Kong’s Yuen Kei Ho who both won all their group matches. Levine explained:
“I definitely accomplished what I came here to do which is to play strong and confidently.
“I’ve had control of all three games right from the start and I know that if I stick to my game-plan and continue to play with the same amount of confidence, I should hopefully breeze through the next few rounds and make it to the gold medal match.”
It has been business as usual in the BC1 category. Britain’s medal favourite David Smith MBE expertly dispatched Thai opponent Subin Tipmanee 15-0 before overcoming Bermuda’s Omar Hayward. The Paralympic gold medallist and World no 1 tops his group without even conceding a point.
“I’m really happy to have not conceded a point so far. I feel as if I have managed the games well and scored when I could along with a watertight defence.
“I don’t know who I’m playing yet tomorrow but I’m feeling good overall with a few things to improve as I strive for perfection. I don’t feel too much pressure though – I’m in the form of my life and have great support around me. But winning the World title would mean a lot to me in front of a brilliant home crowd in Liverpool.”
World no.2 Daniel Perez of the Netherlands, Paralympic silver medallist, safely secured his passage to the knock out stages, also winning all three group matches.
Greg Polychronidis celebrated his 37th birthday with a perfectly executed 8-0 match on court 1, The Greek player – who turns 37 today – said:
“I must remain unemotional tomorrow and go for the victory. All the training and hard work is paying off. And I hope to play my best games in the next two days.”
Meanwhile, there was jubilation for Great Britain’s BC3 player Patrick Wilson who finished as runner up in his pool after facing Howon Jeong of Korea. Despite 7-3 defeat to the Paralympic gold medallist and not winning his previous two group matches, Edinburgh’s BC3 player booked his place in the last 16 on points difference:
“Korea’s Howon Jeong is obviously an unbelievable player and I had the opportunity to win two ends off him. My game plan was to win my ends – I didn’t quite get to that; to beat Jeong you have to be perfect. I felt I got close to him and I am pleased with my performance. I thought I was knocked out but I am leaving day two on a high and feeling confident about tomorrow.”
The BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships has been made possible thanks to UK Sport’s National Lottery funding through its Major Events Programme.
The main court will be live from Sunday 12 August from 09:00-19:00 BST to Saturday 18 August from 10:30-18:00 BST on the BBC Sport website, Sport app & connected TV.
Article written by Jane Thomas
Photograph credit sportingwales