The boccia season gets rolling for many athletes around Europe at the Zagreb Regional Open from Wednesday in Croatia.
Slovakia’s Samuel Andrejcik is among the top names competing this week. The Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist is working his way back from a disappointing 2018 World Championships, where he failed to medal. However, he bounced back with gold the following month at the Poznan Regional Open, and he can prove he has more to show with a strong start in Zagreb.
Challenging him will be Croatia’s Davor Komar, who is also looking to rebound from Worlds disappointment. Like Andrejcik, Komar finished outside the top 10 in Liverpool, Great Britain, and just missed the podium at the season-ending competition in Dubai, UAE. He sits at No. 9 in the world rankings, just ahead of Andrejcik.
Slovakia will have another strong medal contender in the BC1 side with Tomas Kral. The 2017 European Championship bronze medallist was stopped short of playing for a medal at Liverpool 2018. But he finished last year strong with podium finishes in Poznan and Dubai. This week’s Regional Open could be the time he finally reaches the top spot.
Ukraine’s Vladyslav Kukhta has similar plans as Kral. Although absent from the 2018 Worlds, the 23-year-old has shown potential with two medals from last season – silver in Poznan and bronze at the Oblia Regional Open in Italy.
Great Britain’s reigning world and Paralympic BC1 champion David Smith will be in action but only in the team and pairs event.
The Zagreb Regional Open runs until Sunday (31 March) and will welcome 86 athletes from 18 countries. More information is available on the event website