Canada BC4 pair captures silver, individual competition gets underway at Boccia World Open

The Brazilian BC4 bocce pair of Eliseu Dos Santos and Dirceu Pinto responded emphatically to a  6-0 round robin loss to Canada on Wednesday — they trounced Alison Levine and Marco Dispaltro of Montreal, Que., 6-2 in the gold medal game of the Boccia World Open in Póvoa de Varzim on Thursday.

tor15_bo_Individual_BC3_Semifinal_003 (1)
Eric Bussiere competes in the Individual BC3 semifinal during the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

Canada only trailed 3-2 at the end of three ends, but Brazil scored three points in the fourth to finish the game.

“We played well but Brazil made a few more shots, including a masterpiece throw from two-time Paralympian Dirceau Pinto in the third end putting Brazil up by one in the fourth end,”Dispaltro said. “Overall though, it was a fantastic performance to capture silver, but the best is yet to come.”

He and Levine  had to go the distance with Germany in the semifinal round before clinching a spot in the 2016 championship game. Tied 4-4 after four ends, Canada outscored Germany in the tie-breaking fifth end to win.

““We played a very tight game against Germany,” BC4 Coach César Nicolaï said. “Germany was very motivated and was tough to beat, but Alison and Marco showed consistency to take the win. Against Brazil in the final we played three excellent ends, but in the fourth we didn’t play our best which made the difference in the game. Overall I’m happy with the level of play and the focus from all three athletes. We’ve sent a strong message about what to expect from Team Canada in Rio.”

Dos Santos and Pintos’ semifinal game was far less dramatic as they easily tamed Slovakia 7-3.

This was Canada’s second straight appearance in the championship final at the  World Open in Portugal. Canada lost to the host nation 4-1 last year.

Individual competition begins:

Éric Bussière, Philippe Lord and Paul Gauthier each played their first game of the BC3 individual competition on Thursday.

Bussière,  ranked No.19 in the world, started this stage of the tourney on the right foot by toppling Poland’s Damian Iskrzycki (No.114)  6-2.

Lord, a 22-year-old without a world ranking, proved to be a stiff challenge for Kamil Vašícek of the Czech Republic, but the No.9-ranked player won the matchup 4-2.

Gauthier (No.36) fell 7-3 in his opening game against Samir Van Der Beken (No.54) of France.

Each of Canada’s BC3 players are slated to play two more round robin games on Friday. 

The BC4 individual tournament also begins on Friday. Levine, Dispaltro and Caroline Vietnieks will all play two games before playoff positioning is determined.

Ten BC3 playoff spots are reserved for bocce players who win their pool.  Six more athletes will make the playoffs as point qualifiers. Competitors with the best win/loss records will claim these slots.

A top-two pool finish guarantees BC4 athletes a spot in Saturday morning’s eighth final games. Two players will make the elimination round as a points qualifier.

It will be 4 a.m. EST. on Saturday when the first eighth final games get underway from Portugal (9 a.m. local time). The quarter finals follow at 6:15 a.m,  the semifinals commence at 9 a.m., and the gold medal games and bronze medal games start at 11 a.m.

Follow @ReportOnRio and stay connected with for continuing coverage of the tournament.

Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee.

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