A dramatic week of boccia came to a close on Saturday (18 August) in Liverpool, Great Britain. Here is a look back at some of the memorable moments from the 2018 World Boccia Championships:
1. Gold at last
Greece’s Greg Polychronidis has been playing at the top level for over a decade and experienced heartbreak at different levels. The latest was at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, where he reached the finals but lost to South Korea’s Howon Jeong. They would meet again, in the same situation in Liverpool. This time, Polychronidis would win with his last ball and secure his first major individual BC3 gold medal. The pairs gold followed later and was the cherry on top.
2. Home victory
Great Britain’s home favourite David Smith lived up to expectations. The reigning Paralympic champion was in excellent form from start to finish, and he got to celebrate the individual BC1 title in front of his home crowd, an experience he missed out on at the London 2012 Paralympics.
3. Thai take over
Thailand boasted the top two boccia players in the BC2 category. But it was No. 3 world ranked Worawut Saengampa who reached the final while his teammate world No. 1 Watcharaphon Vongsa suffered a shock exit in the pool stages. Saengampa went on to dominate and retain his title from 2016.
The two however would join forces to win the BC1-2 team event and help their nation top the Liverpool 2018 medals table with two golds and one silver.
4. Slovakian denial
Slovakia’s BC4 pairs would be the ones to deny Thailand more gold. The combination of Samuel Andrejcik and Michaela Balcova proved a winning pair, adding the world title to their Rio 2016 Paralympic gold. For Andrejcik, the victory was redemption after his chance for individual gold was dashed in the early pool stages.