Tokyo 2020: boccia takeaways

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As one of the most intriguing and unique games in Paralympic sport, boccia has once again captivated sports fans at the Ariake Gymnastics Center.

SMITH PURSUES THE BEST TITLE OF ALL TIME

Retaining his individual BC1 title at Tokyo 2020, Briton David Smith is only one gold medal behind Brazilian Dirceu Pinto to become the most decorated athlete in sport.

He now has three gold, one silver and one bronze after making a spectacular 2-0 comeback to beat Malaysian Wei Lun Chew 4-2 in the final.

Smith is also now his country’s most successful boccia player, overtaking Nigel Murray.

(LR) Witsanu Huadpradit, Worawut Saengampa, Subin Tipmanee and Watcharaphon Vongsa of Team Thailand after winning gold in boccia team BC1 / BC2 at Tokyo 2020 Games.

THE THALAND CANNOT BE BEATEN

Historically, Thailand has excelled in the BC1-2 team, winning gold at Rio 2016 and London 2012. Prior to Tokyo, they dominated the world rankings and their players were top ranked in both rankings.

So it was no surprise that Witsanu Huadrapit, Subin Tipmanee, Watcharaphon Vongsa and Worawut Saengampa secured an 8-2 victory over China.

TABLE OF MISCELLANEOUS MEDALS ONCE AGAIN

As the sport has grown around the world, boccia has shown its global quality with many different countries on the medal charts in recent years.

Tokyo 2020 was no different as athletes from 13 National Paralympic Committees took to the podium, including a few notable firsts.

Daniel Michel made history by winning Australia’s first individual boccia medal in BC3 with bronze and the country’s first podium since Atlanta 1996.

(LR) Yuriko Fujii, Takayuku Hirose, Takumi Nakamura and Hidetaka Sugimura of the Japan team after winning the bronze medal in the boccia team BC1 / BC2 at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

A FALLING COUNTRY IN LOVE OF LA BOCCIA

After making their debut in the sport in 2008, host Tokyo 2020 Japan won their first Paralympic medal five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

One member of that silver medal-winning BC1-2 team – Hidetaka Sugimura – returned to the pitch this year determined to make a gold mark.

This is exactly what Sugimura did in the individual BC2, generating enormous national interest by winning his final against Thailand’s Vongsa.

The 39-year-old gold was of course Japan’s first, but overall the hosts achieved their best ever performance with a silver medal for Kazuki Takahashi, Keisuke Kawamoto and Keiko Tanaka in the mixed pairs. BC3, along with Takumi Nakamura, Yuriko Fujii and Takayuki Hirose joined Sugimura to take bronze in the BC1-2 team.


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