Two-time world champion and current world No. 1 Worawut Saengampa headlines an all-star Thailand team at the Chinese Taipei Boccia Regional Open, which gets underway on Monday (26 November).
It is the first time an international boccia competition has taken place in Chinese Taipei and fans at the New Taipei Xinzhuang Gymnasium are in for a real treat.
Saengampa is one of the hottest players in boccia right now. Since losing to 5-4 to compatriot Watcharaphon Vongsa in the BC2 final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the 25-year-old has defended his individual world title, won the world team title, claimed the 2018 Asian Para Games individual crown and risen to the top of the world rankings. A win at the Povoa World Open in July means Saengampa is undefeated in major competitions this year.
Countryman Witsanu Huadpradit joins Saengampa in the team event, which looks like Thailand’s for the taking. Huadpradit’s recent record is almost as formidable as his teammate’s: the 35-year-old won double gold at October’s Asian Para Games, winning the BC1 individual and the mixed team titles, after finishing fourth in the individual competition at the 2018 World Championships in Liverpool in August.
The pair are joined by a further nine Thai athletes – including the BC4 world No. 5 Pornchok Larpyen – in what is the event’s biggest delegation.
Both Hong Kong – whose athletes claimed a gold, a silver and two bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Para Games – and Singapore, who were BC3 mixed pairs silver medallists at the same competition, have, with an eye on the future, chosen to send young teams.
The home crowd will have plenty to shout about with 10 Chinese Taipei athletes in action. Led by BC3 competitor Tzu-Wei Chang, who finished 11th at the ISE Regional Open in India in March this year, it represents a great opportunity for the sport to grow in recognition and reputation.
Teams representing New Zealand, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq complete the line-up.
Keep up to date with all the results from the event, which runs from 26 November to 3 December on the Boccia International Sports Federation’s (BISFed) website.