Boccia champions from the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games are back in action at the 2019 America Regional Championships from Monday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Canada’s Marco Dispaltro had a breakthrough victory at August’s Parapan Ams and would hope to continue that momentum into this week’s Regional Championships.
The 52-year-old won his first major medal since the 2015 Parapan Ams in Toronto, Canada. The bronze medallist from London 2012 left Rio 2016 without reaching the podium. But after his success at Lima 2019, Dispaltro looks poised to earn Canada a BC4 slot for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Dispaltro upset 2018 World Championships runner-up Euclides Grisales in Lima. But the Colombian still remains a gold medal favourite for the Americas title. Dispaltro’s teammate Alison Levine is the highest ranked BC4 athlete entering the competition and would aim to finish on the podium. But another Colombia in Duban Cely is feeling confident after bronze from Lima 2019.
Brazilians are the heavy favourites in the rest of the individual events: BC1, BC2 and BC3.
The BC3 could see a rematch of the 2019 Parapan American Games final between winner Evelyn de Oliveira and Colombia’s silver medallist Jesus Romero.
Recently crowned Parapan Am champion Maciel Santos is the favourite in the BC2 event. The London 2012 champion is aiming to rebound from disappointment at his home Paralympics in 2016, and a victory at his home America Championships could see a return to his third Games.
Jose Carlos Chagas de Oliveira could give Brazil even more hope for golden success as the top-ranked athlete in the BC1. However, Mexico’s Eduardo Sanchez Reyes surprised de Oliveira at Lima 2019 to secure the Parapan Am gold, and he would expect to put up another battle for a Tokyo 2020 slot.
The 2019 Sao Paulo America Regional Championships runs until 6 October and will be streamed live.