Portugal’s Cristina Goncalves recorded the first major upset of the 2018 World Boccia Championships by defeating Thailand’s world No. 1 Watcharaphon Vongsa in the BC2 group stage on day two (13 August) in Liverpool, Great Britain.
Goncalves, ranked No. 17 in the world, got the better of the reigning Paralympic champion in a thrilling tiebreak and positioned herself at second in the Pool A. Vongsa will need to make amends in his final group match on Tuesday (14 August) to book his place in the last 16.
Over on the BC4 courts, 2016 Paralympic medallist Samuel Andrejcik will now be pinning his medal hopes on the pairs competition after he suffered three straight losses in pool matches. It was China’s Yusansen Zheng who rolled over Andrejcik 7-0 to move to the top of Pool F.
Great Britain enjoyed another victory from their BC4 world No. 1 Stephen McGuire after his 11-2 triumph over Russia’s Ivan Frolov*, while Canada’s Alison Levine also won all her group matches to go 3-0.
“I've had control of all three games right from the start and I know that if I stick to my game plan and continue to play with the same amount of confidence, I should hopefully breeze through the next few rounds and make it to the gold medal match,” Levine said.
Britain’s BC1 medal favourite David Smith dispatched Thailand’s Subin Tipmanee 15-0 before overcoming Bermuda’s Omar Hayward. The Paralympic champion has sailed through his group without even conceding a point.
“I feel as if I have managed the games well and scored when I could along with a watertight defence,” Smith said.
“I don’t feel too much pressure though – I’m in the form of my life and have great support around me. But winning the World title would mean a lot to me in front of a brilliant home crowd in Liverpool.”
The Netherlands’ world No. 2 Daniel Perez safely secured his passage to the knockout stages, also winning all three group matches in the BC1.
Greece’s reigning Rio 2016 silver medallist Greg Polychronidis celebrated his 37th birthday with a perfectly executed 8-0 match in the BC3, while in the other court Hong Kong star and world No. 4 Yuen Kei Ho also secured a victory to top her group.
“I must remain unemotional tomorrow and go for the victory,” Polychronidis said. “All the training and hard work is paying off. And I hope to play my best games in the next two days.”
The competition continues with the final pool play on Tuesday (14 August), and runs until Saturday (18 August).
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.