Boccia at the Tokyo Paralympic Games
Levine and Ciobanu win in curtain raiser
The athletes are back to international competitions after a 22 month hiatus due to COVID-19
Ottawa, ON (August 28, 2021) – Montreal’s Alison Levine (BC4) made her debut in the boccia competition at the Tokyo Paralympic Games with a 4-3 win over Slovakia’s Martin Streharsky.
Levine took a 1-0 lead in the first end and then tripled her lead in the second end. Up 3-0, the 31-year-old saw her opponent come back strong in the third end to tie the game 3-3. Levine didn’t give up and was able to add a point in the fourth end to win.
“It was by far not my best game, but it felt good to break the ice after two years without a competition. A win was what was most important so that I got that momentum going. I know my confidence will continue to grow as the tournament goes on.”
Levine will be back in action on Sunday, August 29 when she takes on Wai Yan Vivian Lau of Hong Kong who also won her first match on Saturday.
A hard fought victory for Iulian Ciobanu
Iulian Ciobanu (BC4) needed a tie-break to win his first match at the Paralympic Games against Portugal’s Carla Oliveira 4-3.
Oliveira started the match strong, quickly taking a 2-0 lead in the first end. Ciobanu, however, was not to be denied. He first forced a tie in the second end to bring the score to 3-1 before coming back strong in the last two ends to bring the score to 3-3.
Ciobanu finally sealed the win in the tiebreaker with the winning point.
The 38-year-old will now face Ximei Lin of China in his second match in Tokyo.
Cesar Nicolai, Levine and Ciobanu’s coach, was very pleased with his athletes’ performances on the first day of competition in Tokyo.
“The ice is broken, they showed great mental strength throughout their matches. I am very pleased with the level of concentration and intensity they showed after 22 months without competition. It’s very solid! I am proud of them. Now, let’s rest and focus on the second games of the preliminary round.”
Danik Allard defeated by a three-time Paralympic medalist
Montreal’s Danik Allard (BC2) had a tough competitor in his first match as he was pitted against Portugal’s Cristina Goncalves, gold medallist in team competition at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and also medallist in Beijing in 2008 and Rio in 2016.
Allard quickly trailed 3-0 after the first two ends. However, he came back with a great performance in the third end to take the lead by a score of 4-3. The Portuguese came back in the final end, however, scoring five points leading to an 8-4 victory over Allard.
“The first two ends were more difficult, but I managed to make a comeback in the third end. The game ended 8-4, but the ice is broken. My strategy for the next game is to keep it simple,” he mentioned after his game.
Allard will have the chance to win his first match in Tokyo on Saturday, August 29 when he faces Japan’s Hidetaka Sugimura, who was dominant in his first match, winning 12-0 against Diana Tsyplina of the Russian Paralympic Committee.
About Boccia Canada
Boccia Canada is the boccia delivery arm of the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association (CCPSA), the National Sport Organization for the Paralympic sport of boccia. Boccia Canada is focused on providing athletes and individuals of all ages and skill with the chance to play a unique Paralympic sport. CCPSA collaborates with partners to increase the participation of Canadians with cerebral palsy and related disabilities in sport and physical activity, while leading, developing and growing boccia from grassroots, to producing World and Paralympic Champions.
Boccia is a Paralympic sport of precision and strategy similar to lawn bowling or curling, played by athletes with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and related disabilities. It is one of only two Paralympic sports that do not have an Olympic counterpart. Athletes compete in one of six sport classes based on their level and type of disability: BC1, BC2, BC3, BC4, BC5, and Open. For more information on boccia, visit www.bocciacanada.ca.
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