David Smith wins Boccia gold!
GOLD for David Smith in the Boccia! He had to come from 2-0 down, following an impressive start from the Malaysian Chew Wei Lun, but after eking out single-score victories in games two and three, Smith won it in the fourth. With four balls of six left to play for both competitors Smith made a botch shot, knocking his own leading ball out of contention.
He was clearly frustrated but bounced back immediately, switching from underarm to overarm and nestling his next shot against the jack, and letting loose a defiant roar. Jun managed to nudge Smith away with his next throw, but then – overarm again – Smith both edged his third ball back into prime position and nestled his fourth in front of Jun’s as well. Jun could not find the necessary alchemy in his remaining shots and Smith claimed two decisive points with one throw still to go. Champion!
I am feeling quite emotional after the first gold medal contest at the Boccia this afternoon. I’m here to watch David Smith, who’s up next for ParalympicsGB against Malaysia’s Chew Wei Lun in the BC1 class, but the first match of the day was for athletes with the most severe physical impairments, who use plastic pointers to delicately, and with great dexterity, push their balls down a slope with their mouths. The match was a nail-biter.
The Greek athlete Grigorios Polychronidis found himself 3-0 down after the first round to the Czech Adam Peska, who played with consistent precision throughout. But with some tactical smarts (including blowing the jack out of play on the third game in order to extricate himself from a challenging position) and clever angles, Polychronidis won the next three games 1-0 to take the match to a final, extra round.
Sadly for Polychronidis all that good work was undone at the last, as Peska’s second to fifth efforts (you get six per game) all placed his red colour closest to the jack. As the Greek’s final effort failed to shift Peska, he was obviously distraught, but you could only tell his distress from the slightest movements on his face. It was hard not to feel a bit tearful.