Polychronidis helps Greece to impressive Boccia start

World number one and teammate Nikolaos Polychronidis come from behind to pip impressive Canada. 02 Sep 2012

Grigorios Polychronidis of Greece (R) and Jacob Thomas of Great Britain (L) at London 2012.


The athletes were greeted by a bumper crowd at the ExCeL arena, who were told to expect “strategy, intense focus and pinpoint accuracy”.

World number one Grigorios Polychronidis displayed his considerable class to help earn Greece an opening day double in the boccia BC3 mixed pairs.

Having already beaten Great Britain 5-0 in the morning session, Polychronidis and his teammate Nikolaos Polychronidis then recovered from a 1-2 deficit to beat a Canadian side that look serious gold medal contenders.

Canada had already beaten a strong Korean team 5-4 earlier in the day, and duo Bruno Garneau and Paul Gauthier looked poised to record a significant upset when they led Greece going into the final end.

But Polychronidis then produced a crucial play to put the Greeks in a commanding position, and the two point margin in the fourth end completed a 3-2 victory.

Such is Polychronidis’ standing in his home country the he was named an Honorary Citizen of Athens by the Greek Parliament in 2004, and he is a clear favourite in the men’s BC3 individual event, having won silver at Beijing 2008.

But the game against Canada also proved that he won’t have it all his own way at London 2012.

The athletes were greeted by a bumper crowd at the ExCeL arena, who were told to expect “strategy, intense focus and pinpoint accuracy” from the six afternoon matches played out at the same time.

Canada and Greece took their place on court one, and it was the European team that took the early initiative, taking the first end 1-0.

But Garneau and Gauthier responded superbly, and after taking the next two ends by the same scoreline, looked poised to record a second impressive victory of the day following their Korean success.

But Polychronidis and Pananos recovered their composure in the decisive final end, giving credence to their status as gold medal favourites.

Polychronidis had produced a crucial shot in the morning’s win over Great Britain, something he modesty described as lucky after the match, but his Canadian opponents were in no doubt about his ability.

“Greg is a great player and it could have gone either way,” Gauthier said.

“There was great rivalry there for quite a while - it was back and forth, back and forth.

“Of course Greece is number one and we had them at one point.

“Greg was nervous - you could see it and that helped us a lot, it was close. I would like to say I'm really proud of my team.”

If the two teams meet again in the later stages of the competition, another fascinating clash looks on the cards.