Thailand topped the medals table, claiming three gold medals, as the International Boccia Sport Federation (BISFed) 2017 Asia-Oceania Championships concluded on Sunday (28 May) in Hong Kong.
London 2012 gold medallist Pattaya Tadtong captured the BC1 individual gold after beating South Korea’s Wonjong Yoo 5-0. The Thai athlete dominated in his pool games, winning 15-0, 18-0 and 19-0 to reach the knock out games, where he only lost three ends en route to claiming the gold medal. Fellow countryman Witsanu Haudpradit claimed bronze.
The Thai athletes continued to dominate in the BC2 class. Watharaphon Vongsa and Worawut Saengampa were unbeaten entering the final, with both beating strong South Korean competition in the semi-finals. Something had to give in the final and it was Vongsa who came out on top with a narrow 6-5 victory. Jeongmin Sohn beat fellow South Korean Soyeong Jeong to claim bronze.
South Korea have dominated both the individual and pair element of the BC3 game for many years. It was not different this time, despite Hong Kong’s Yuen Kei Ho spoiling the South Korean’s plans by beating Yejin Choi 5-4 in their semi-final to guarantee herself a silver medal.
Unfortunately for her, she was up against South Korea’s 2014 world champion Hansoo Kim in a match that could have gone either way until the last ball. Kim claimed the gold leaving his fellow teammates Choi and Jun Yup Kim to play for bronze. Kim eventually took the bronze.
The home fans would have been expecting reigning Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Yuk Wing Leung to be in contention for a medal in the BC4. But a combination of disappointing performances and impressive play from others meant that Yuk missed out on a place in the elimination round.
One athlete that capitalised on that was China’s Yuansen Zheng, who earned the BC4 gold after beating South Korea’s Hyeon Seok Seo 7-0 in the final. The bronze medal was won on a tie-break, with Thailand’s Pornchok Larpyen beating China’s Yuexiang Guang.
The team and pairs finals also produced some fantastic performances.
There were no shocks in the BC1/BC2 team event. Favourites Thailand put on an incredible show beating Japan 13-0 in the final. The Japanese team have had a number of excellent results leading up to the Regional Championships, and despite the heavy defeat the signs look good for them as their road to a home Paralympic Games begins.
The South Korean BC3 pair got back to winning ways. After losing a close Paralympic final to Brazil in September they bounced back in Hong Kong, leaving the hosts to collect silver after a narrow 4-3 victory. Singapore received a well-earned bronze medal after beating Australia in a tie-break.
Hong Kong finished top in the BC4 pairs category thanks to their tactical game, whilst South Korea and China completed solid performances and collected silver and bronze, respectively.
Complete results from the BISFed 2017 Asia-Oceania Championships can be found on BISFed’s website.