Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Sport Week: Top moments in boccia

Big upsets and top performances make up the list 05 Mar 2020
Six people on a podium. Three are in wheelchairs, three are standing behind them
Brazil's victory in the mixed pairs BC3 on home soil at Rio 2016 is among the best moments
ⒸDaniel Zappe/MPIX/CPB

Check out some of the best moments in boccia history before the sport’s competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, between 29 August – 5 September.

1) Gold medal for Brazil on home soil 

The BC3 mixed pairs team consisting of Evelyn de Oliveira, Antonio Leme and Evani Soares da Silva beat resounding favourites and world No. 1 South Korea 5-2 in the final to take gold in front of their home crowd at Rio 2016. 

It was Brazil’s sixth boccia Paralympic title ever.

The hosts lost to South Korea 4-1 in the early rounds but came back to dominate the following two matches against Belgium 4-2 and Canada 11-2 to qualify for the semi-finals.

Brazil followed that up with a 6-2 victory over Singapore to advance into the gold medal-game.

"It's something incredible. I've already won some medals, but at the Paralympic Games and in Brazil is special," said de Oliveira.

2) Pattaya Tadtong surprises David Smith

In one of the biggest upsets in boccia Paralympic history, Thailand’s Tadtong defeated home crowd favourite Smith 7-0 in the London 2012 individual BC1 final, in front of the astonished British public. 

The Thai delivered an impeccable performance in the gold medal-match, giving Smith no opportunities to bounce back. The Brit still received a standing ovation while he left the Excel Arena.

In the preliminary rounds, Tadtong subsequently defeated Spain’s José Prado Prado 5-4, Thailand’s Witsanu Huadpradit 7-0 and Brazil’s Jose Carlos Chagas de Oliveira 5-2.

Pattaya Tadtong
Pattaya Tadtong celebrates his victory in London Ⓒ Getty Images

3) First broadcast events

Beijing 2008 was a turning point for being the first Paralympic Games to broadcast the boccia competition with overhead cameras, full stands and live on TV.

The most thrilling and memorable final in Beijing may have been the individual BC2 one, with Hong Kong’s Hoi Ying Karen Kwok taking gold after a 5-3 win over Great Britain’s two-time Paralympic champion Nigel Murray.

Hoi Ying Karen Kwok smiles while holding flowers with the gold medal on her chest
Hoi Ying Karen Kwok celebrates after winning gold at Beijing 2008 Ⓒ Getty Images

4) Paralympic debut

Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984 were the first Paralympic Games to include boccia in the programme, with two men’s, two women’s and one mixed team events.

USA ended top of the medals table with golds from Craig Clifton (men’s C2) and Nancy Anderson (women’s C2).

Denmark’s Henrik Jorgensen (men’s C1), Great Britain’s Carol Johnson (women’s C1) and Portugal in the mixed team were the other champions crowned.  

5) Slovakia upsets Brazil 

Brazil’s Eliseu Dos Santos and Jose Dirceu Pinto had dominated the mixed pairs BC4 category since teaming up in 2007. They took gold at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and were the heavy favourites to complete a hat-trick at their home Games in Rio.

However, the Slovakian team of Samuel Andrejcik, Robert Durkovic and Michaela Balcova, entering No. 5 ranked in the world, upset the Brazilian crowd. The reigning European champions scored in each of the last two ends of the final, whereas Brazil failed to secure points, and claimed the coveted gold.

 Samuel Andrejcik holding the jack
Samuel Andrejcik in action during the Rio 2016 final Ⓒ Al Tielemans for OIS/IOC