Two World number ones out of medal hunt

World number ones Stephen McGuire and Watcharaphon Vongsa were today sent crashing out of the BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships at Exhibition Centre Liverpool.

McGuire’s hopes to defend his title in front of a home crowd were dashed by Germany’s Boris Nicolai:

“I’m disappointed not to reach the standards I hit in the group stages,” said McGuire after the match. “But I credit Boris as he gained court position quickly. I managed to claw my way back into it and although it came down to the last couple of balls, my opponent deserved the win. My focus now switches to the pairs event - we’re feeling confident and we’ll be putting all our energy into securing a medal.”

Nicolai then eliminated World no.9 Eliseu dos Santos of Brazil to reach the semi-finals. It was a brilliant result for the German who arrived in Liverpool ranked 23rd.

Watcharaphon Vongsa suffered a second bad day in Liverpool. The BC2 World number one lost his quarter final match to Robert Mezik of Slovakia:

“Vongsa was a very difficult opponent, that’s why he is no.1 in the World,” explained a jubilant Mezik. “I have never beaten him before and it was a good result, especially because I progressed out of the group on points difference.”

Britain’s David Smith MBE and Takumi Nakamura put the audience on tenterhooks on court one in the final match of the day. BC1 World number one Smith dropped his first point of the tournament in the second end and despite taking a lead in the third, he was lucky to escape defeat in the fourth to send it to a tiebreak.

“His tactics made me work hard,” said Smith. “I’ve played well all week but sometimes it’s good to win ugly because it is important to battle and dig deep.”

Elsewhere in the BC1s, Daniel Perez defeated old foe Tomas Kral of Slovakia to continue his medal chase:

“I made it difficult for myself in the second end. I would have liked to have scored a couple of points there. I lost to him at the Europeans in 2017 so it was nice revenge.”

In the BC3s, Grigorious Polychronidis continued a smooth campaign to claim the World title. An 8-0 win over Canada’s Eric Bussiere set him up to face Aleksander Legostaev which he won 4-3:

“It was very tough. He played excellently and I’m happy I managed to play well and take the victory.”

He now faces Australia’s Daniel Michel in the semi-finals tomorrow morning:

“He is a very good player,” says Polychronidis. “We played together in Rio and I won but every game is 50/50.”

The BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships has been made possible thanks to UK Sport’s National Lottery funding through its Major Events Programme.

The action on court one is being live streamed. It will be live from Sunday 12 August from 09:00-19:00 BST to Saturday 18 August from 10:30-18:00 BST on the BBC Sport website, Sport app & connected TV.

For the full schedule, please visit http://bisfed2018-worldboccia-ind.sport80.com/app/main/#/matches

Duncan Tunbridge