“It was a difficult game against very good opposition, and I expected this one to be decided by a special play. It was a magnificent shot that won the match for me, and it is definitely up there with my best sporting moments. The victory was not about revenge, but to confirm myself as the man to beat in Europe.”
Portugal’s Jose Macedo was able to overcome tournament favourite Greg Polychronidis of Greece in a golden point finale in his homeland.
On 22 June, the 2013 BISFed Boccia European Championships in Guimares, Portugal, showcased a BC3 final between Greece’s reigning European champion Greg Polychronidis and Portugal’s multi-Paralympic champion Jose Macedo.
Buoyed by a home Portuguese crowd and spurred on from having to settle for silver at the London 2012 Paralympics, Macedo was not ready to miss out on European gold.
Polychonidis had shattered Macedo’s dreams of gold at London 2012, as his shot in the last seconds of the BC3 pairs final clinched the game against Macedo’s Portuguese team.
Macedo achieved his place in the European final after a tense semi-final match which needed a golden point decider against Kirsten de Laender of the Netherlands, and Polychronidis saw off Great Britain’s Jess Hunter, 5-4.
With both competitors evenly matched at 5-5 in the final, the match had to be decided by a golden point, and Macedo was the one who came out of the tense battle with gold this time thanks to a wonder shot.
“I had been in this position many times before,” Macedo said. “There was a moment earlier on when I thought I had lost the game, but as the game went down to the tiebreaker, my confidence was high.
“It was a difficult game against very good opposition, and I expected this one to be decided by a special play. It was a magnificent shot that won the match for me, and it is definitely up there with my best sporting moments.
“The victory was not about revenge, but to confirm myself as the man to beat in Europe.”
Throughout the entire match, Macedo had been very determined to give his home crowd something to cheer about.
“I felt very happy with the victory because it shown in my home country that I am the best European BC3 athlete,” he said. “It is always good to perform in your own country, in front of your family and friends, and it helped me produce an impressive performance.”
Macedo, 41, was voted the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athlete of the Month in June for his performance.
His coach, Luis Marta, had foreseen a final between the Macedo and Polychronidis, and believed that the difficulty of the contest and the ability of Polychronidis helped his athlete win the match.
“Jose was prepared to beat anyone at the European Championships,” Marta said. “We expected to reach the final with Greg, and we worked very hard on preparing a game plan to use against him.
“Greg Polychronidis is one of the top players in Europe and in the world, not only because of his results, but how he plays. Beating an elite player like him is always a challenge that Jose wants because he likes difficult games and to feel the competitiveness of the game.”
Macedo is now looking to impress on the global stage at the 2014 BISFed Boccia World Championships in Beijing, where he will face very strong competition from other BC3 challengers, including South Korea’s Ho Won Jeong and Canada’s Paul Gauthier.