Hong Kong shine with 3 Gold in Individual events
Beijing 2008 Paralympic gold medallist Hoi Ying Karen Kwok led the golden surge for Hong Kong as the team finished with three gold medals in the individual events at the ongoing 7th Fazza Dubai 2021 World Boccia Asia-Oceania Championships on Wednesday.
Karen Kwok overcame a fighting Soyeong Jeong, the London 2012 bronze medallist from South Korea, with the final scores reading 4-3 in the female BC2 finals here at the Shabab Al Ahli Club. “I feel very happy. This gold is very special one.” “I want to continue the momentum. My short-term goal is to win a medal at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games,” said Karen Kwok, who added that the sport has changed her life in many ways right from travelling, meeting new people and living a normal life in a wheelchair.
In BC4 female finals, Hong Kong’s Yuen Cheung stormed to a 5-1 win over Thailand’s Nuanchan Phonsila while Tokyo 2020 Paralympics bronze medallist Yuk Wing Leung overcame Thailand’s silver medallist at Tokyo Pornchok Larpyen by 4-2 scoreline in the male event.
The Hong Kong coach said the team had come into the event with not too high expectations and thus the medals have boosted the team’s confidence as they prepare for next year’s Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China and the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro.
Earlier, Singapore’s Yee Ting Jeralyn Tan became the first gold medallist in a female individual event since the new rule of separation of male and female events was announced recently, defeating Japan’s Rio 2016 silver medallist in Team event, Yuriko Fujii 3-2 in female BC1 finals.
South Korea picked its first gold at the Dubai 2021 event when Sungjoon Jung pulled out a narrow 3-2 win over Hong Kong’s John Loung in the male BC1 finals.
Vongsa stuns reigning Paralympic champion
In the male BC2 finals, Thailand’s four-time Paralympic champion Watcharaphon Vongsa avenged his Tokyo 2020 defeat against Hidetaka Sugimura, the reigning Paralympic champion, with a 10-2 victory here. Vongsa’s compatriot Worawut Saengampa claimed the bronze in the third-place play-off. “I am very happy and feel confident looking into next year where we have several important events,” said Vongsa, admitting that Paris 2024 was already in his mind.
The Thailand team also had moments to cheer in a female event as Ladamanee Kla-Han displayed impeccable ball throwing skill to defeat South Korea’s Yejin Choi 6-0 in BC3 finals. Choi was part of South Korea’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medal winning team in Pairs event.
In the male finals, South Korea’s Howon Jeong, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion in BC3 Pairs, avenged the loss thumping Japan’s Kazuki Takahashi 9-0 in the finals. The result was in fact a repeat of BC3 Pairs event at Tokyo 2020, as the Japanese was part of silver medallist Pairs in Tokyo.
As many as 70 players from 9 nations are competing at the Dubai 2021, which is the first championships where the new rule of separate male and female event is being played.
The Pairs and Team events begin on Thursday with the Team Finals to take place on Friday.