Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Harmonisation key for Thai boccia team boccia win

Four-time gold medallist Watcharaphon Vongsa spearheads Thai success over China 04 Sep 2021
Watcharaphon Vongsa bites his lip in concentration as he throw the boccia ball
Watcharaphon Vongsa of Thailand competes during the Boccia team BC1/BC2 gold medal match

Watcharaphon Vongsa led Thailand to a third consecutive gold medal in the BC1/BC2 team event with an 8-2 victory over China at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on 4 Sept.

Thailand had trailed 2-0 after the second end against a China team who had won all four of their group games, including beating Thailand.

Vongsa came up big with some superb throws in the final two ends to help Thailand pull away. The individual BC2 silver medallist put his team’s victory down to their focus under pressure.

"It was our concentration," the 30-year-old said. "We tried to control our focus in this competition. We set the target to win it three times. The world will know more about the Thai boccia team now."

Vongsa said the close-knit atmosphere within the team has been a key to their success through the years.

"We have worked hard to achieve the good target. The relationship within the Thai team is like a family. We have harmonisation and communication. When we have a problem, we communicate to solve it and go together."

Thailand, who beat Japan 8-3 in their semi-final on their path to gold, also topped the podium at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Japan then edged Portugal 4-3 to capture the team bronze, rallying from a 2-0 deficit after the second end. 

Hidetaka Sugimura, who won gold in the individual BC2 class, has emerged as a local boccia star. "We had a really good match against Portugal. We are happy that we could beat a strong team like that," Sugimura said.

"I was a bit nervous. They were really strong. We had six games overall and four times we had to come back. We were on the edge. The team has grown. I am happy that we could show our ability and progress."

In the pairs BC3 event, Republic of Korea narrowly defeated Japan in a tiebreaker to claim the gold medal. With the score at 4-4 after four ends, Rep. Korea scored a single point in the tiebreaker to prevail.

Slovakia beat Hong Kong, China 3-2 to take the pairs BC4 title.