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Boccia Canada – Montreal, April 25, 2018 – Representatives from eighteen countries have gathered at the Maurice-Richard Arena this week for the BISFed Montreal World Open, which is being held as part of the Défi sportif AlterGo. The world’s top boccia players competed for a perfect record on the first day of the individual tournament. The Canadians were no exception, accumulating seven wins on Wednesday.

Alison Levine, Iulian Ciobanu and Benoit Ostiguy

Alison Levine was undefeated in the BC4 division. The Montrealer beat Japan’s Wataru Furumitsu in her only match of the day.

After a cautious start in the first end, which she won 1-0, Levine took control of the jack to score two decisive points in the second end. She continued her streak into the third and fourth ends, racking up two points in each for a final score of 7-0.

“It was the first time I faced this opponent. I kept my focus throughout the match and played consistently,” noted Levine.

“There are still several top-ten ranked players here so the calibre of play will be high for the next few matches. This tournament is a great test run for the World Championships, which will be held in Liverpool later this year,” she added. Her two final matches of the preliminary round will be against Steve Wilson of Bermuda and Dirceu Pinto of Brazil.

Also competing in the BC4 division were Iulian Ciobanu (Montreal, Quebec) and Marco Dispaltro (Saint-Jérôme, Quebec), both of whom won their only matches of the day. Ciobanu ousted Hwijung Kim (South Korea) 11-0 while Dispaltro defeated Jamal Bean (Bermuda) 6-0.

Eric Bussière (Verchères, Québec) also ended the day on a triumphant note in the BC3 group. The Québécois beat his teammate Philippe Lord of Blainville, Quebec, as well as Keisuke Kawamoto of Japan.

Following his loss to Bussière, Lord was defeated by Australia’s Daniel Michel.

A Busy Day for Hanif Mawji

Of the ten Canadians who played today, Hanif Mawji (Burnaby, BC) was the busiest, with three games in his schedule. The BC1 division player finished the day with a record of one win and two losses.

Mawji started his day with a 5-3 win over his teammate Éric Lefebvre (Montreal, Quebec). However, despite a strong start, he was not able to overcome his second opponent, Israel’s Orit Kelner.

Although he scored points in the first and third ends by pushing several of his opponent’s balls away from the jack, Mawji gave up six points during the second end and was unable to recover from that deficit. The match ended 7-5 in Kelner’s favour.

 “Hanif started strong, making adjustments based on the position of the jack, which was at the front of the court close to the V line”, said coach Simon Larouche.

In his last match of the day, Mawji faced off against Colombia’s Maria Rojas Navarro. Trailing 6-4 in the fourth end, he managed to score two points and force the game into overtime, where Rojas Navarro scored the tiebreaker and won the match.

“I worked hard all day and stuck to my strategy of scoring points from the left side of the box. Unfortunately, in my last game I lost the jack in the third end, which cost me some points,” explained Mawji.

Russia’s Mikhail Gutnik will be Mawji’s final opponent on Thursday.

Éric Lefebvre, who lost to Mawji, also bowed out to Gutnik. He will have two chances to come back between now and the end of the pools.

In the BC2 division, the three Canadians who were in action today only played one game each. Benoit Ostiguy (Montréal, Québec) was the only victor of the group, outscoring Russia’s Diana Tsyplina 3-2. Michael Mercer (St. John’s, Newfoundland) lost 4-1 to Nadav Levi (Israel) while Tammy McLeod (London, Ontario) was defeated 7-2 by Takayuki Hirose (Japan).

The final matches of the pools’ various rounds will take place on Thursday.

For the results and the schedule, see

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.

About boccia
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 four sport classes based on their level and type of disability: BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4. For more information on boccia, visit



Jennifer Larson