South Korea finish on top at Fazza Boccia 2019 Championships
South Korea players displayed great precision and technique to win eight medals and topped the medals table at the 6th Fazza BISFed 2019 Boccia Dubai Regional Open Championships that concluded at the Shabab Al Ahli Club last week.
Out of the eight medals, South Korea clinched four gold with Youngjin Roh and Yongjin Lee shining bright with three gold among them. Roh and Lee clinched the gold medals in BC1 and BC2 Individual events and later combined for the BC1/BC2 Team gold against Indonesia.
Australia followed South Korea in the medals tally with two gold in BC3 competition, while China had one gold in BC4 Individual.
On the final day which witnessed the Team and Pairs finals, the Korean team picked up two more gold medals (BC4 Pairs and BC1/BC2 Team) to add to their two individual Gold medals.
In BC1/BC2 Team, Team Korea comprising Youngjin Roh, Soyeong Jeong and Yongjin Lee overcame a young Indonesian side (Muhamad Syafa, Felix Ardi Yudha, Muhammad Bintang Satria Herlangga) by a 6-3 scoreline.
Earlier, Roh, a rookie and Seoul Regional Championships gold medallist, rallied from behind to beat Indonesia’s 17-year-old Muhamad Syafa 4-3 in a dramatic Individual final. Trailing 1-3 until the last minute, the Korean got his final throw closest to the target- Jack- to beat Syafa.
In BC2 final, Lee stormed to a 5-1 win over Indonesian Felix Ardi Yudha to take the top honour.
Said Korea Team Manager Gwangtaek Im: “We are very happy with how the team performed here. This was the last competition for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics quota. We have already got BC1/2 Team and BC3 quota. This was also the first competition which Korean National Team and Korean Regional Team performed together. So, it was a meaningful competition for us.”
South Korea’s dominant show not only compensated the absence of top nation and last year’s champion Thailand but ensured Asian countries’ dominance in the sport and, especially in the Fazza championships.
Best ever result
Among other Asian teams, Indonesia ended with their best ever international result – six medals including three silver.
For the young Indonesian team, who participating for the first time in the event, it was nothing less than a dream debut with players Muhamad Syafa and Felix Ardi Yudha standing out with their efforts in the BC1 and BC2 events. Both had finished in second places and later paired for the Team event.
Indonesia coach Islahuzzaman later said this championship was more about gaining experience for his players. “They learnt new technique and strategy playing against other teams here. Our main target is Paris 2024. Next year, we have the ASEAN Para Games which we expect to be a good competition.”
Meanwhile, Ximei Lin claimed the only gold for China emerging the winner in BC4 Individual final overcoming a fighting Seongyuk Jang from South Korea 4 -2.
Hosts UAE settled for silver
For hosts UAE, they claimed the silver medal in BC4 Pairs event – their only medal in the competition – on the final day. Team UAE led by Raisa Alfasi settled for the second place after going down 0-8 to South Korea.
President of Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) and Director of Fazza Championships and Majid Rashed congratulated all the winners on their success and hoped that everyone returned home happy.
Rashed later said at the closing: “It’s great to have you all (players) here. A big thank you to all of you (teams) for giving us this opportunity and being a positive part of our championships. When we started the Fazza Championships, we started with athletics and now we host six Fazza championships in different disabled sport and Boccia has been an important event among them. So, you all have contributed to the growth of this championships and I wish success for all the players.”
Australia on top in BC3 competitions
After taking the 1st and 2nd positions in BC3 Individual, Daniel Michel and Spencer Cotie combined to claim the BC3 Pairs gold medal beating South Korea that had Yejin Choi and Jong Ho Kwon 4-2.
Trailing Korea 0-2, Australia got their points in the second went ahead in the third quarter.
An ecstatic Australian coach Ken Halliday later said: “It’s the end of the year so it was very important to finish the year on a high. We are very happy to get good results here – gold medals in BC3 Individual and BC3 Pairs – as it was a Tokyo 2020 qualification event. The BC3 players are doing well for last couple of years; they have been very consistent and have already got the Tokyo 2020 qualification. I am sure they will motivate other players in the coming time.”
The four-day championship, which featured 60 players from 14 nations, was significant being the last event awarding ranking points towards Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games qualification before the deadline ends on December 31, 2019.