2023 Défi sportif AlterGo National Boccia Open
The Future is Bright for Boccia Canada as the 2023 Défi sportif AlterGo National Open Finishes
Ottawa, ON (April 23, 2023) – This year a mix of some veterans and younger athletes stood atop the podium at the 2023 Défi sportif AlterGo National Boccia Open at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal, QC. Boccia is one of the fastest growing Paralympic sports in the world and Boccia Canada is no different in its approach to get more people with disabilities involved in the sport through classification in one of six classes offered across the country.
Three out of four Boccia Canada Espoir Team athletes won a medal at the 2023 Défi sportif AlterGo. Espoir Team athletes Olivier Roy (Québec City, QC) took home a BC2 gold, Olivier Dussault (Québec City, QC) a BC2 silver, Alex Lemaire (Kingsey Falls, QC) a BC3 silver, and the fourth Nathan Bragg (Vancouver, BC) did not leave his pool, however, he did take home a silver at the 2022 Canadian Boccia Championships a couple months prior to this event.
Nineteen-year-old Roy was ecstatic and the gold medal was the fruits of his labour. “It’s been super beneficial to be on the Espoir Team. It’s helped me to excel, given me many helpful resources, and the ability to work with a high-performance coaching staff. Playing against Olivier in Québec and at tournaments like these has allowed us to challenge each other and continue to excel in the sport.”
Roy came out of the gate strong in the finals, scoring early points in the first end, which eventually led to a 5-1 win over Dussault.
Nico Iemma (Oshawa, ON) is currently fourteen years old and one of the youngest competitors at the Défi sportif AlterGo this year. He took home the gold, playing Espoir Team athlete, Lemaire in the finals. Iemma was up against 15 other BC3 athletes in the largest class of the competition.
Iemma was surprised with the result; “We didn’t really expect the gold coming into this tournament. We have a lot of new equipment which we’re trying out. I’m going to continue to train every Tuesday night after school and I often watch videos of other BC3 players as well. I’ll be making some minor adjustments with my new equipment before competing internationally [at the Povoa de Varzim World Boccia Youth Championships].” Iemma came equipped with a team of family, friends, a slew of equipment, and his coach, Logan White, this year.
“We’re super lucky that we have the support of a lot of people around us. It’s allowing us to grow and be where we want to be moving forward. There’s been some emotional stuff going on, but Nico has been able to bounce right back which is super encouraging for his mental game at competitions.”
Iemma beat out current National Boccia Team athlete, Ryan Rondeau (Edmonton, AB) who was impressed with Iemma’s performance as a youngster coming through the program: “Kudos to Nico because he played very well. He forced the misses and he’s been playing well all week so it’s awesome to see someone that young playing as well as he is… People were playing world-class today which is great to see.”
The podium was not complete without the veterans on the podium, of course, too.
“It’s a big relief for me to finish in first place. I kept my focus until the end. It’s with a lot of pride that I take home the gold. Last year at Défi I won gold so the bar was set high coming into this tournament,” said BC5 athlete Marc-Antoine Goupil, winning all of his games to be crowned Champion of BC5 class.
Richard Brochu (Montréal, QC) in the Open/BC4 class felt “frustrated because it was a close final game [in the end against Défi sportif AlterGo first timer Ariane Soulard (Montréal, QC)]. I was proud of myself, especially in the third end when I decided to throw the jack long. Of course, a gold is a gold so I’m happy.”
Hanif Mawji (Burnaby, BC), a veteran of Défi sportif AlterGo, was happy with another gold to add to his collection: “In two ways I’m happy… I’m happy to have won the gold, of course, but it’s also encouraging that the rest of the BC1 athletes were a lot of up-and-coming athletes. It’s nice to feel that the younger athletes are learning from us and wanting to attain gold status for years to come. It was good to see some of the Espoir athletes coming into town and doing well. The future looks bright!”
Gold: Hanif Mawji (Burnaby, BC)
Silver: Kyle Scott (Hamilton, ON)
Bronze: Chris Halpen (Victoria, BC)
Gold: Olivier Roy (Québec City, QC)
Silver: Olivier Dussault (Québec City, QC)
Bronze: Benoit Ostiguy (Montréal, QC)
Gold: Nico Iemma (Oshawa, ON); Ass’t: Patrick Iemma
Silver: Alexandre Lemaire (Kingsey Falls, QC); Ass’t: Francis Lemaire
Bronze: Ryan Rondeau (Edmonton, AB); Ass’t: Meghan Lewis
Gold: Richard Brochu (Montréal, QC)
Silver: Ariane Soulard (Montréal, QC)
Bronze: Daniel Hutchison (Victoria, BC)
Gold: Marc-Antoine Goupil (Honfleur, QC)
Silver: Guy Simard (Montréal, QC)
Bronze: Bastien Huard (Lévis, QC)
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 leads, develops and grows boccia from grassroots to producing World Champions, and we collaborate with partners to increase participation of Canadians with physical disabilities in sport.
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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