Thai and Portuguese players ranked above the others after two days of action at the 2nd International Boccia Fazza Competition at the Dubai Club for the Disabled in Al Qusais.
The UAE hosts took some consolation victories in the BC2 class on Sunday thanks to Rania Saleh Rashid, Hamda Mohammed Beljafla and Soltan Al Ketbi.
However, the Thai and Portuguese stars dominated their pools to secure their place in the semi-finals.
Placed under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council, it is organized and supervised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center and the Dubai Club for the Disabled with the support from General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, Dubai Sports Council and United Arab Emirates Paralympic Committee.
Boccia is a highly specialized competitive sport for people with cerebral palsy or related neurological conditions and is played in over 50 countries today.
A total of 51 players from nine countries including United Arab Emirates with 14 players participate in the 2nd International Boccia Fazza competition.
It is the first sport of its kind for people with neurological disorders in the Middle East.
The 1st international boccia Fazza competition welcomed 41 players from eight countries in May last year, including the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Thailand, Malaysia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Tunisia and Portugal.
Qatar is the latest entry for this year’s international boccia Fazza competition.
The four days of the Fazza Boccia competition will end with the semi-finals and finals on Tuesday, April 21.
Victory of the United Arab Emirates
The UAE players have asserted their supremacy in the region and proven to be a force to be reckoned with at the international level.
Rania showed determination and precision to outperform male rival Husain Jaafar Omran of Bahrain 10-2 to secure third place in Pool 3 of BC2.
Hamda Beljafla beat Qatari Mohamed Abdo Alsadi 6-2 to take third place in Pool 4 of BC2.
Soltan Al Ketbi won a close game against Tunisia’s Minwawer Deychi 4-3 but had to settle for third place in Pool 1 of BC2 on the points difference.
Watcharaphon Vongsa led Thailand to the podium by defeating Salem Al Kaabi of the United Arab Emirates 21-0 to lead BC2 Pool 1 with an incredible 58-0 in all three of his matches.
One of three Thai winners of the inaugural Fazza international boccia competition who returned to defend their titles, 24-year-old Vongsa will face Malaysian Lee Chee Hong in the semifinals.
Lee topped Pool 3 with an impressive 44-2 record while Portugal’s Abilio Valente will face Tunisian Achref Tayahi in the other semi-final.
Valente survived a scare against Malaysian Mohammad Sayfiq bin Mohd Nor in his last game before winning a very close 4-3 game to finish first in Pool 2 with a score of 47-3. Tayahi dominated Pool 4 with victories over Mohammad Al Mahdi (Kuwait), Hamda Beljafla (UAE) and Abdo Alsadi (Qatar).
Newbies from Qatar recorded their first victory of the competition when Mohammed Faraj Al Marri defeated UAE Rania Saleh Rashid 10-1.
“We are confident of winning gold medals this time around as well,” said Thailand team coach Vithasit Youngpradist, pleased with the performance of their five-member team.
“We have been training for a short period of just one month and are using it as preparation for the qualifying events for the Paralympic Games in Rio which will be held in Hong Kong and South Korea in June and July of this year.” said Youngpradist, who is also Cerebral’s general secretary. Thai Paralyzed Sport Association.
“We have a group of 100 returning players and our goal is to win medals at the Paralympic Games. We have several training camps and we train and the players train six hours a day, ”he added.
Thailand won team gold in the BC1 and BC2 categories at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in addition to winning seven medals, including three gold, at the Para-Asian Games in Incheon last year.
He was grateful for the opportunity offered by the Dubai Club for people with disabilities to organize the 2nd International Boccia Fazza Competition.
“The level of competition has been very high. The organization of the event was excellent. The emergence of new world class players has added to the toughness of the competition and has helped our players prepare for future competitions, ”added Youngpradist.
Thailand’s Pornchok Larpyen, gold medalist in the BC4 category at the first international boccia competition in Fazza last year, was the first to qualify for the semi-finals in BC4 in Pool 3 by stifling the challenge of the Emirati Ahmed Essa Aljazeeri 9-1.
He will face Portugal’s Pedro da Clara who beat Emirati Ayesha Essa Almehairi 9-0 and later in the evening his partner Fernando Pereira to win the doubles match against Iraqi pair Asil Abbas and Ihab Ahmed Abdel Ridha 12-0.
Pereira, who beat Ridha 9-1 for her second win in Pool 2, is set to face Thailand’s Nuanchan Phonsila who is making her international debut. The 37-year-old outscored Kuwaiti Tahani Ismael 16-0 to claim her second win in Pool 4.
Thailand’s Pattaya Tadtong, winner in Dubai last year at the first edition of the international boccia Fazza competition, continued to beat any opposition with impressive victories over Ayman Rajah Alheddi (Bahrain) 20-0 and Salah Abdi Alalili ( UAE) to stay ahead of the six player-pool 1 in BC1 with three wins.
Ranked number three in the world, Pattaya, 36, was a gold medalist at the Para-Asian Games in Incheon last year.
Malaysian Lean Chin Kit, a bronze medalist at the Para-Asean Games in Myanmar last year, is also among the favorites to advance to the semi-finals.
Lean got a forfeit from Hamad Yousef Altahri of the United Arab Emirates and beat Tunisian Boubaker Heli 8-1 to claim his third victory and first Group 2.
BC1 – Players with cerebral palsy who are able to use their hands or feet to consistently propel a ball in play. BC1 athletes may have outside assistance on the playing field to pass their ball to them on demand or to modify the chair. rolling and make sure it is firm.
BC2 – Players with cerebral palsy who are able to use their hands to propel a ball in play consistently and have greater functional capacity than a BC1 athlete and are not allowed to have an assist.
BC3 – Players with cerebral palsy or other disability with musculoskeletal dysfunction in all four limbs who are unable to throw or kick a ball in play and as such are permitted to use an assistive device such as a ramp to propel the ball into play and are supported by an assistant. The assistant should look away and turn his back on the court.
BC4 – Players who do not have cerebral palsy but have another disability with locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs and have a functional capacity similar to that of BC2 athletes. Disabilities such as muscular dystrophy and quadriplegia will fall under this classification as long as they are shown to be able to throw the ball effectively and are not entitled to any help or assistance.
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