It was a banner first day of competition at the Boccia World Open in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal for Canada’s BC4 pairs team of Marco Dispaltro, Alison Levine and Caroline Vietnieks (did not play).
They won all three of their games on Wednesday, and secured a semifinal showdown against Team Germany on Thursday.
“The day couldn’t have been any better with three wins,” Levine said. “Marco and I were in sync on the court. We made the right decisions and throughout the day our execution went up and up.”
Their first game of the day was against Portugal. The host nation proved to be Levine and Dispaltro’s toughest opposition, but the Canadian tandem eked out a 5-3 decision.
Team Canada was even better in game two with a 8-1 blowout win of Slovenia.
A game against Brazil to close out the day afforded Levine and Dispaltro an opportunity to earn a measure of revenge against the nation that defeated them in the gold medal game of the 2015 Toronto Parapan Am Games.
It was the two Montreal, Que. natives who displayed championship form in this Boccia contest. They capitalized on every scoring chance, and did not allow the host nation of the Paralympics any opportunity to generate momentum, en route to sweeping all four ends for a 6-0 whitewash.
“Today was an excellent day for the BC4’s and the have showed their best boccia,” said head coach Mario Deslisle. “Just like in training, they were calm, in control all day and were having fun on the courts. This is what coaches want to see. It was a pleasure to watch”
Levine and Dispaltro are favoured to win against Germany tomorrow. Canada is ranked No. 6 in the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) world rankings, while Germany is the 16th ranked team.
“Germany will definitely bring a strong game because they are excited to make it to the elimination round for the first time ever at the international level,” Levine said. “If Marco and I play like we did today it should be no problem.”
The schedule of tomorrow’s playoff games have not been released.
BC3 Pairs recap:
There will be no playoff games for Canada’s BC3 pairs team of Paul Gauthier (Vancouver, B.C.), Éric Bussière (Vercheres, Que.) and Phillipe Lord (St. Jerome, Que).
They finished the day with a record of 1-2 to finish third in their pool. A top-two finish in their pool was needed to advance to the quarter finals.
Canada triumphed over Slovakia 6-1, but lost 7-1 against Brazil, and 4-3 to Russia.
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Photo Credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee