Suigimura Hidetaka hopes boccia gold will spark Japanese interest in the sport

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Home fans were elated when Suigimura Hidetaka of Japan won his first Paralympic gold medal in the boccia BC2 individual final on Wednesday (September 1st).

Throwing two in the first end and keeping a point for each subsequent end, Suigimura defeated Watcharaphon Vongsa of Thailand 5-0. Brazilian Maciel Santos won bronze by beating Thailand’s Worawut Saengampa.

Rio 2016 silver medalist Suigimura hopes his achievement will boost awareness and interest in the sport in Japan.

“With the Games here, there are a lot of people in Japan who watch boccia on TV, so I hope people with and without a disability will think boccia is wonderful and that there are a lot of cool players and wonderful people who play boccia. I hope boccia will spread to Japan, “said Suigimura.

“After Rio, looking towards Tokyo, I did everything I could to prepare myself for it as a challenger, not as a leader. In the end, all my efforts came to fruition with the gold medal. So I am very happy.

Smith celebrates despite being “trash”

Britain’s David Smith won his second straight individual gold medal, but admitted that after beating Malaysia’s Chew Wei Lun in BC1, he wasn’t quite sure how.

“There was something weird going on out there, but it was in my favor. I like whoever was upstairs moving the balls for me because I was bad,” said Smith.

David Smith screams as he wins gold at Tokyo 2020 © OIS

Maybe her signature Mohawk hairstyle helped, colored with blue sides and a red center. “I know red is lucky in Japan so I wanted to do something with it. I did a poll on Instagram to see which color they would prefer and it lasted a bit 50:50 so with the 50:50 I was like “Oh, I could do something with both” and then I since the RAF had the cockade with blue on the outside and red in the middle, so I thought I would do something like that.

For Chew, just reaching the final at his first Paralympic Games came as a surprise. “It’s unexpected. I never thought about it. I came here to promote the sport in Malaysia, to make the sport known to others in Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Slovakian Samuel Andrejcik continued to make noise at Ariake Gymnastics Center as he scored 4-0 in the BC4 final match, with consecutive points in each end to take gold ahead of Thailand’s Pornchok Larpyen. .

Rio 2016 silver medalist Andrejcik shouted for joy as he won. “When I feel the game is over and I’m a winner, I scream loudly. This time it was very tight until the final end, the last balls. So I tried to concentrate and only screamed loudly in the last end, when I threw the last balls.

The tie-break thriller sets in BC3

The BC3 event saw a tight competition between Czech Adam Peska and Greece’s Grigorios Polychronidis, Peska winning in the tie-break. After a three points from Peska in the first end, Polychronidis had to fight for points in each subsequent end to force the tie-break.

“I know a tie-break is always 50-50. So I thought, would I lose it or not? I feel amazing. The medal is heaven for me. I feel great,” Peska said.

Having made his Paralympic Games debut in Athens 2004, Polychronidis has competed in every Games since, winning pairs gold in London 2012. But he was never able to secure the individual title. Now he’s aiming for Paris 2024 for the elusive individual gold.

“This is the third time that I have lost a final. But I already know that for the first two times the day I lost was the day I cried all day. But the next day I felt happy because I knew I had done something very special.

“This time I think I learned, that I don’t feel so sad and I feel good because this is my fifth Paralympic medal and it proves that with the work that Katerina and I do, we are very stable at the top and we will just go to Paris to win another medal, I hope for gold, ”he said.

Grigorios Polychronidis' assistant and wife Katarina adjusts her pointer
Grigorios Polychronidis with his assistant and his wife Katarina

Polychronidis’ assistant is his wife Katarina Patroni and they also brought four month old baby Valentina with them for a full family affair. “I think she (Valentina) will be proud of this medal. She will come back with us to Paris, I hope when we go to Paris we will aim to win gold.

“What I said to Greg after the game was’ Come on, we’re going to Paris, Valentina will be older so she’ll understand what’s going on around her better, so it’s better to win the gold. in Paris than in Tokyo, ”Patroni said.


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