Boccia world champions look to make noise in Seville
European Championships also have Tokyo 2020 Paralympic slots at stake26 Aug 2019
Greg Polychronidis finally captured the individual world title at Liverpool 2018
Reigning world champions David Smith and Greg Polychronidis headline the 2019 Seville Boccia European Regional Championships that kick off from Tuesday in Spain.
The Championships will see the top finishers from each of the four individual and three team medal events secure their nations a slot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Greece’s Polychronidis can begin his campaign for that eluded Paralympic title in Seville.
After winning his first major individual gold at last year’s World Championships in Liverpool, Great Britain, Polychronidis enters the BC3 as favourite. He hopes to shake off his results from the Hong Kong World Open in May, as he did not reach the podium.
In fact, it was Great Britain’s Patrick Wilson who surprised in a finals appearance and left with the silver medal. But the No. 9 world ranked player also faces a familiar challenger in compatriot and world No. 4 Jamie McCowan.
Their teammate Smith will be a gold medal contender in the BC1 event.
But like Polychronidis, the world No. 1 did not reach the podium in Hong Kong. The Netherlands’ 2018 Worlds bronze medallist Daniel Perez would be Smith’s main road block; the Dutch star already holds a gold from May’s Montreal World Open, and finished third in June’s Olbia Regional Open.
Another Brit leads the seedings, with Stephen McGuire in the BC4. The reigning European champion has tried to bounce back since a disappointing home Worlds last year. So far, he has seemed to put that behind him after winning in Hong Kong.
Germany’s 2018 Worlds third-place finisher Boris Nicolai is also targeting the same top prize. He comes over with a victory from the Regional Open in Olbia, Italy.
The BC2 individual event will be wide open, as Slovakia’s Robert Mezik aims to upgrade his silver medal from 2017. Portugal’s European bronze medal winner Abilio Valentehas also has a similar target.