Canada’s Éric Bussiére captured the silver medal in the BC3 singles competition on championship Saturday of the Boccia World Open in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal — and has delivered an emphatic message to the boccia world that he deserves to be considered a Paralympics medal threat.
The Verchères, Que. native’s day began with a highly competitive eighth final showdown against the host nation’s Luis Silva. The game was tight from start to finish, with scoring going back and forth in the first three ends. With the score tied at three in the final end, Bussiére scored on his final shot to take a 4-3 lead. The Portuguese team did try to overturn the play, claiming Bussiére released the ball too late. The protest was overruled and Bussiére advanced to the quarter finals.
An extra end was required in his quarter final battle against Nurulasyiqah Binte of Singapore. Bussiére was once again clutch with his final shot: He placed the ball right on the jack to secure a 4-3 win and advance to the semifinals.
Bussiére was considered the underdog going into his matchup with Great Britain’s Patrick Wilson, ranked as the eighth best BC3 bocce player in the world. The Canadian, ranked No. 19, once again showcased his ability to perform under pressure by placing his final two balls right on target to score two points for a 4-2 victory.
He played Portugal’s José Carlos Macedo — a bocce veteran with more than 20 years of experience — in the final. Bussiére took a 1-0 lead against the World No. 6, but the experienced Macedo responded with a strong last three ends to win the game 6-1.
Despite a tough loss to end the tourney, Bussiére’s coach, Kirstin Dorrance, was very pleased with his performance.
“I am extremely proud of Eric. The entire tournament he was on his game — both in execution and decision-making.”
In other elimination round action, BC4 athletes Marco Dispaltro and Alison Levine, both from Montreal, Que., advanced into the quarter finals by taking down Slovakian opponents in the round of 16. Dispaltro slipped past Robert Durkovic with a 3-2 overtime win, and Levine beat Michaela Balcova 4-2.
They were both blown out in the quarter finals: Dispaltro fell 5-1 to Samuel Andrejcik of Slovakia, and Levine was hammered 9-1 by Stephen McGuire of Great Britain.
Caroline Vietnieks of Vancouver, B.C. was eliminated in the eighth final. She was edged 5-4 by Portugal’s Pedro Clara.
Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee)