27 August 2021

McCowan brothers contest family affair on opening day of Boccia action

Scott McCowan claimed family bragging rights as he beat brother Jamie in the pool stage of the individual BC3 event on the opening day of Boccia action at Tokyo 2020.

Scott, 30, has their father, Gary, as his ramp assistant while Jamie, 26, has their mother, Linda, with all four family members on the court for the boys from Ayrshire.

But it was Scott that took the 7-1 win over Jamie in the Pool E contest, opening up a big 6-0 lead in the first two ends that he didn’t relinquish.

Scott said: “Obviously, from a tactics perspective, it was hard to have something up your sleeve because we train with each other every day of the week.

“You have to just play your own game we normally play and try and do better than him on the day.

“I don’t think it’s any different to play your brother when the game’s on because it’s just another opponent but when it’s finished and you’ve got the result, it’s really disappointing to have defeated your brother.”

The McCowan brothers faced each other on the biggest stage of all

Jamie added: “Personally, it was a special occasion. It was the biggest occasion we’ve ever played each other so the whole build-up of the match was good.

“I think it was important for the sport of boccia and a great story. Our life is boccia, the four of us, and so to demonstrate that to everybody here was really exciting to be part of.”

David Smith is hoping to replicate his gold-medal performance from Rio and he won his opening match 7-1 against China’s Zhang Qi in the BC1 class.

He said: “It’s good, it wasn’t the best game I’ve ever played, and it took me a little while to get a feel for the floor, but I think once I settled down it was alright.

“The first game is always a bit weird, and my body doesn’t do what my brain wants it to do.

“A good score in the second end settled me down and then the rest of the game was fairly straightforward.”

However, fellow Brits Claire Taggart, Will Hipwell, Stephen McGuire and Louis Saunders all lost their opening matches.

Stephen McGuire was defeated 4-1 in his opening boccia match at Tokyo 2020

BC4 athlete McGuire lost 4-1 to Hong Kong’s Wong Kwan Hang, while in the same class Saunders was bested 7-3 by Samuel Andrejcik of Slovakia.

In the BC2 event, Hipwell fell 16-0 to Worawut Saengampa of Thailand, as Taggart played out a close contest with Argentina’s Luis Cristaldo but saw a 2-0 lead after two ends turn into a 5-2 defeat.

“It was really, really tight throughout,” said Taggart. “It came down to the last end and really it came down to the last couple balls.

“I’m really pleased with how I played, and it was a really intense match. It’s so overwhelming because we arrived here a week ago today and we’ve had so much time to prepare and get ready for it, so to get on the court and feel the buzz again is just amazing.”

The pool stage action continues on Sunday with all seven Brits in action once more.

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