World’s best boccia players pass Povoa Open test

Favourites win ahead of 2018 World Championships

a male boccia player prepares to play a ball Greg Polychronidis will aim for his first individual world title at Liverpool 2018 © • Getty Images

Two world numbers ones - Greece’s Greg Polychronidis and Great Britain’s David Smith - will head into August’s Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) World Championships full of confidence after victories at the World Open that finished on Monday (9 July) in Povoa, Portugal.

In the final major event before the World Championships begin in Liverpool, Great Britain, on 12 August, Polychronidis showed tremendous form capturing the BC3 title. Having gone undefeated in the group stages, the Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist thrashed Great Britain’s world No. 2 Jamie McCowan 5-0 to win gold in a repeat of March’s Madrid Open final. McCowan’s teammate Patrick Wilson claimed the bronze.

The Brits celebrated through David Smith who cruised through his BC1 group matches to reach the final. The reigning Paralympic champion extended his dominant season with a 5-2 final win over Russia’s Mikhail Gutnik*. Bronze went to Thailand’s Witsanu Huadpradit.

The BC4 event saw Croatia’s world No. 8 David Komar take a surprise title with a tight 3-2 win over Slovakia’s Samuel Andrejcik. Thailand’s Pornchok Larpyen took the last podium spot.

Once again, the BC2 final was an all-Thai showdown. Worawut Saengampa upset the defending Paralympic and Asian champion Watcharaphon Vongsa 7-1. The home crowd celebrated a bronze medal for Cristina Gonasalves.

Thailand team triumph

Saengampa and Vongsa paired to lead Thailand to the win in the BC1/BC2 team event, defeating Slovakia for the top prize; Russia* came in third.

In the BC3 pairs, Polychronidis led the Greece to gold over Canada, with Spain completing the podium.

Andrejcik bounced back from his individual disappointment, as he helped Slovakia take the BC4 pairs prize by defeating Russia*. Great Britain took home the bronze.

The Povoa World Open featured 93 athletes from 20 countries. Complete results can be found on BISFed’s website

The BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships run 12-18 August in Liverpool, Great Britain.

*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games. For further information please click here.