“I mustered all my strength, focused at the jack and threw my ball and it landed within two inches of the jack ball scoring the point and won the game.”
With the 2015 boccia season about to get underway, Canada’s Hanif Mawji has set himself a number of targets: selection for two major international competitions and an improvement in his personal and his team’s world rankings.
“I am hoping that I get selected for the Para PanAm Games and Rio 2016 and looking forward to increase my current world individual ranking of number eight,” said the 47-year-old BC 1 player who joined the Canadian national team in 1991.
In 2011, Mawji was not part of the nine-strong team that topped the boccia medals table at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, but he is hoping to make the team this time round.
If selected for August’s Parapan American Games in Toronto, Canada, then Mawji has earmarked one opponent he really would like to play.
“I am looking forward to playing a return game against the number six ranked Brazilian athlete [Jose Carlos Chagas] who beat me in the semi-finals at the America’s Cup in 2013 at Kansas City.”
A win against Chagas would almost certainly see Mawji move up the world rankings ahead of Rio 2016, but the athlete who made his Paralympic debut in Beijing in 2008 is not just focussed on his own world standing.
“I am also hoping to help my team mates (BC1/BC2) to increase or at least maintain the current number seven team ranking in order to qualify for Rio 2016,” he said.
In order to be on top form for what promises to be a vitally important two years of sport, Mawji - who has been the Canadian number one in the BC1 class every year since 2006 - is working hard.
“I am training on the court five days of the week, to improve my long shots and nailing-the-jack with focusing, mental imagery and breathing techniques.”
With aspirations of competing in two of the biggest competitions in the world, Mawji knows that every ball will count and that a few millimetres here of there could make or break his hopes.
“At the America’s Cup in 2013 at Kansas City, in the bronze medal game, my opponent from Argentina was scoring a point to tie the game in the 4th and final end at some 9.5 meters away,” recalled Mawji.
“I mustered all my strength, focused at the jack and threw my ball and it landed within two inches of the jack ball scoring the point and won the game.
“In 2014 however I missed the bronze by a few millimetres against the athlete from Holland at Montreal’s Defi Sportiff.”
The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games will take place between 7-15 August and will feature around 1,600 athletes from 28 countries competing in 15 sports.