Éric Bussière, Marco Dispaltro, Alison Levine and Caroline Vietnieks will represent Canada in the singles playoffs at the Boccia World Open in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal on Saturday.
Bussière will play the host nation’s Luis Silva in the eighth final of the BC3 individual competition at 5 a.m EST (10 a.m. in Portugal).
The Canadian finished No.1 in Pool I with a 3-0 record —outscoring his opponents 28-4—in round robin play. He prevailed 6-2 over Damian Iskrzycki (POL) on Thursday, and notched 11-1 blowout wins against Maksim Vasilyev (RUS) and Jirí Svojanovský (CZE) on Friday.
He likes where his game is at heading into the playoffs.
“Today everything went well for me. I took my time to observe before each shot and made sure I was making the right choices,”Bussière said “My goal was to get out of my pool and these good results have instilled confidence in me for tomorrow.”
His rival, Silva, completed the round robin stage with a 3-0 record to earn the top spot in Pool B.
This matchup is a tossup as Silva (No.18) is only one spot ahead of Bussière (No.19) in the Boccia International Sports Federation world rankings (BISfed) for BC3 athletes.
Dispaltro, who captured a silver medal in the BC4 pairs competition with Levine on Thursday, has drawn Robert Durkovic of Slovakia as his round of 16 opponent in the BC4 singles tourney. Their game also commences at 5 a.m. EST.
Durkovic, No.12 in the world, is the underdog in this matchup. He finished with a 1-2 record in pool action (Pool G) to sneak into the playoffs as a points qualifier. Meanwhile Dispaltro, No.5 in the BISfed rankings, finished on top of Pool C by winning both of his preliminary round games in emphatic fashion — he crushed Slovenia’s Matjaž Bartol and Russia’s Ivan Frolov, 7-0 and 7-1 respectively.
Slovakia’s Michaela Balcova is Levine’s eighth final challenger. They are scheduled to begin their game at 4 a.m. EST.
Levine, ranked 15th by BisFed, finished second in Pool F by splitting her two round robin games: She defeated Bastian Keller of Germany 5-1, but was edged 3-2 by Samuel Andrejcik of Slovakia.
Balcova finished second in Pool G with a 2-1 record. It will be an upset if she beats Levine, considering the Slovakian is only 88th in the world rankings.
Vietnieks will play Portugal’s Pedro Clara in the round of 16 at 4 a.m. EST.
A 1-1 record earned Vietnieks second place in Pool B. She was demolished 10-2 by Brazil’s Eliseu Dos Santos, but she bounced back with a 5-4 victory over Evie Edwards of Great Britain.
Clara clinched top spot in Pool D with a 2-0 record. She has the edge in this matchup as she is 20th in the BisFed rankings while Vietnieks is 44th.
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Photos: Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee