Many of boccia’s bests are in Montreal, Canada, to test their forms with under four months to go until the 2018 Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) World Championships.
The BISFed 2018 Montreal Boccia World Open features 95 athletes from 14 countries, with top-10 ranked players going for medals from Tuesday (24 April).
Great Britain’s Jamie McCowan, Stephen McGuire and David Smith are among the gold-medal favourites aiming to impress ahead of their home World Championships in Liverpool.
All three have been on fire, each carrying over individual victories from March’s Regional Open in Madrid, Spain.
It is No. 1s Smith (BC1) and McGuire (BC4) entering as the ones to beat in Montreal.
For McGuire, he is expected to face tough competition from Hong Kong. No. 3-ranked and reigning Paralympic champion Yuk Wing Leung will try to better his bronze medal from the Ise Regional Open, also held last month in Japan. His compatriot Wai Yan Vivia Lau captured the gold in Ise and can prove in Montreal that he is better than his No. 14 rank.
Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Smith will also test competition from Asia. Japan’s Takumi Nakamura won his home Regional Open in the BC1, defeating Hong Kong’s Mei Yee Leung in the finals; both are in Montreal.
South Korea’s No. 3 Hansoo Kim is the one to watch in the BC3 individual, but McCowan will be hungry for a win after taking silver in Madrid. The category could also see a rematch of the finals from Ise, where Australia’s Michel Daniel and Hong Kong’s Yuen Ho matched up; it was Ho who claimed the top prize.
Brazil’s Maciel Santos will try to improve his No. 3 world ranking as he leads the BC2 category. But it is Japan’s Hidetaka Sugimura who is riding a wave of confidence after his gold medal from Ise.
The competition runs until 29 April. Live results from both individual and team events will be available on BISFed’s website, and a live stream will be available at https://tvgo.ca/webdiffusion/defisportif/. Also follow the action on BISFed’s Facebook page.