Great Britain tops medal table at the London Boccia Invitational
about a year ago
Great Britain topped the medal table after reaching the podium in all five events held at the London Boccia Invitational, winning three Gold and two Bronze medals. The competition, which was the Paralympic Test Event, was held at the Olympic Basketball Arena from the 5th to the 7th of May.
David Smith in the Individual BC1 and Nigel Murray in the Individual BC2 both overcame Korean opposition to win Gold. Smith was rarely troubled as he cruised through the competition defeating world number one Ji Kwang Min in the final 3-1. Murray’s victory was less straightforward as he capitalised on a violation by Jeong So-Yeong to score two on the final end with the first of his penalty balls to claim the win 4-3.
In the Individual BC3 event Jacob Thomas bounced back from a semi final defeat by Paralympic silver medallist Grigorios Polychronidis of Greece to snatch the bronze on a tie break after an absorbing encounter with Belgium’s Kirsten De Laender. Thomas’s rise to the BC3 top table has been meteoric and he is a far better player than his world ranking of 17 would suggest. Polychronidis overcame Jose Carlos Macedo of Portugal to win Gold.
In the BC1/BC2 Team event GB motored through their pool to set up a semi final tie with 2011 World Cup champs Korea. The team of David Smith, Nigel Murray and Dan Bentley never got going as Korea powered to a 12-1 victory. The Paralympic Champions regrouped to record their second win over Hong Kong in two days 11-4 and earn the Bronze. Korea won the final against Portugal after an epic final end.
The real surprise was the BC3 pair of Jacob Thomas and Jess Hunter. After coming through their pool by the narrowest of margins, eliminating World number two’s Portugal in the process, they took on the third ranked side Belgium in the Semi’s. The World Cup silver medallists were 8-0 down after two ends such was the quality of Hunter and Thomas’s play and GB finished 8-4 victors to set up a final with Greece. Thomas finally got the better of Polychronidis as GB outplayed the 2011 World Cup winners and World number 1’s to triumph 6-1 and take Gold. The progress the pair have made in the past two years has been remarkable and the top ranked nations will be looking over their shoulders in London in September.