European Challenge in Rio
It is going to take strong performances to prevent the current World umber 1’s from taking home the gold medals in Rio. Pattaya Tadtong (Thailand), Zhiqiang Yan (China), Ho Won Jeong (Korea) and Yuk Wing Leung (Hong Kong) will all be hoping they can beat their rivals to claim the most prestigious gold medals in the sport.
David Smith (Great Britain) and Daniel Perez (Netherlands) are the obvious names to provide a challenge to Tadtong in the BC1 class. Perez experienced a slight dip in form at the World Individual Championships and finished in a disappointing 12th place but was able to achieve 2nd place to Smith at the World Open in Povoa in June. On their day, Smith and Perez are more than capable of beating any player in the world, and the Brit particularly will be hoping he doesn’t fall at the final hurdle this time around.
The BC2 class is not the strongest for the European athletes with only 3 in the top 10. World number 5, Robert Mazik (Slovakia), world number 6, Abilio Valente (Portugal),and world number 9 and Nadav Levi (Israel) will all be hoping to disrupt proceedings. If there is one man that will want to stop them all however, it’s home favourite Maciel Santos!
If anyone can stop the Koreans in the BC3 individual competition it’s Greg Polychronidis (Greece). He was unlucky to finish in 8th in Beijing after failing to take his head pointer into the call room, and will be hoping he can avoid any mishaps to challenge for the medals in Rio. Jacob Thomas (Great Britain) has been unable to attend the competition but Patrick Wilson and brothers Scott and Jaime McGowan are more than capable of holding their own and are definite ‘ones to watch’ for the British fans. Jose Macedo (Portugal) and Pieter Cilssen (Belgium) will also be hoping to improve dramatically on their result in Beijing and produce performances that the pair are more than capable of to reflect their position in the world rankings.
The BC4 class is arguably the most open but only Stephen Mcguire (Great Britain) has shown form recently that suggests he could take the gold medal back to Europe. Domingos Viera (Portugal) and Slovakian Samual Andrejcik will also be hopeful that they are able to play themselves into contention. Both athletes have had some fantastic results of late and deserve their shot at Paralympic glory!
All the action gets underway on the 10th September and results, photos and news stories will be posted on Facebook and Twitter as it happens during the competition!