Smith delights home crowd with gold
Great Britain’s David Smith delighted a home crowd today at BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships in Liverpool with a slick 7-2 victory over Kai Sun of China.
He performed in true World number one style, taking the first three ends comfortably. Entering the fourth, a visibly relaxed Smith dropped two points to the Chinese player:
“The preparation was there. I just had to execute my game. I’ve now completed the set – the Paralympics, the Europeans and now the Worlds back to back over two years and that was always the plan.
“Winning here means everything. The crowd have been awesome. I've really enjoyed it - the layout is spectacular. This is how Boccia be should be done and I hope the rest of the world take note. The venue’s great. The hotel’s great and the courts are cool as well.
“There's been a few shaky moments along the way but that kind of helps in preparing me for the final. It was just a nice game. I'm really happy and onwards to Tokyo.”
The BC3 final saw a repeat of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medal clash in which Korean’s Howon Jeong claimed the gold over Greece’s Grigorios Polychronidis. The Korean has not played internationally since then but has been back to true form in Liverpool.
Taking control of the game, the Korean began the final end 5-2 but Polychronidis – assisted by wife Katerina – played his jack to the end of the court in a high-risk strategy in order to claw back enough points to take it to a tie-break. However, the Korean failed to deliver which meant the Greek player was able to clinch a dramatic victory with his very last ball:
“Finally, in the individuals, we are World Champions,” said Greece’s World number one. “It was very tough. For many, many years, Jeong was the best player in the world but now we are the best players in the world. It was very close but we managed to win.”
Katerina – who, after the match, Grigorios described as “his energy” said:
“It was an amazing game. I cannot believe it. We worked very hard. We don’t have a life. We are only ever on the court. So this is our present.”
It was plain sailing for the World number three in the BC2s. Worawut Saengampa of Thailand scored the biggest win of the day over China’s Zhiquiang Yan with a staggering score of 9-0.
The BC4s were the finale event of an emotional day of individual finals. China were finally able to celebrate an elusive gold medal to join the silvers scooped by Kai Sun and Zhiquiang Yan.
Yusansen Zheng overcame Columbia’s Euclides Grisales 5-1.
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
There are tickets remaining to buy online at: www.echoarena.com/worldboccia.