PACE win four medals in successful Boccia weekend!
The second of three qualifying rounds for the BE Cup Finals and Heathcoat Cup Finals took place on the weekend of 23rd February, at Hertfordshire University.
The BE Cup
For the BE Cup specifically, an athlete needs to accumulate seven points across the three BE Cup Rounds competitions, to qualify for the finals, where a higher placed finish within the BE Cup rounds will accrue more points.
After winning a gold medal at the Sheffield competition a few weeks ago, Reshad was looking to build on his momentum and add some competitive match play into his training for the BE Cup Finals in May. Reshad did just that, advancing to the Finals with relative ease beating experienced opponents that Reshad has played many times in the past. In the final, however, Reshad was unfortunate to loose to Amy Darlow, meaning he had to settle for a silver.
This competition has proven successful for Reshad, highlighting things to improve in his game, in preparation for the BE Cup Finals.
Alex had a successful competition, first of two that he entered, by coming third in the BC1 category, winning a bronze medal and qualifying for the BE Cup finals. The day started of well for Alex due to his opponent not turning up, resulting in a forfeit and an automatic victory for Alex, without even throwing a ball.
Alex couldn’t relax for long as he need to win at least one of his two matches to advance to the knock -out stages, and have a chance of qualifying for the finals. Fortunately, Alex did that by beating Zoe Barnes 6 – 3, putting in a controlled and calm performance from start to finish of the match. He was unable to beat Daniel Wain in his next group game, loosing 8-4. Despite this loss, the previous two wins meant that oth Daniel Wain and Alex progressed into semi-finals from their group. During the semi-final, Alex was unfortunately unable to keep up the same level of Boccia play as he did earlier in the competition when he came up against the experienced Caroline Robinson and lost 8-1. Despite this disappointment, Alex was able to regroup and win his bronze medal match, beating Justin Allen 6- 2.
The BC3 classification was the most competitive and toughly fought classification in the BE Cup at Hatfield. With twelve players in four groups of three, every points matters and could be the difference in moving up from twelve place to fifth or sixth. Jamie was in an incredibly tough group, featuring two England Internationals, one of whom has recently claimed an individual silver medal in the Zagreb Open Championships. Jamie had to deal with this challenge, as well as the tweaks to his equipment that have been made this season, and balancing his academic studies. Unfortunately, Jamie was unable to gain a foothold in his group matches which meant he do not qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. Jamie placed 11th overall in the BC3 standings and gained a few more valuable points towards qualifications. There’s one more qualifying competition in Crawley, Jamie’s last chance to secure points and I’m sure Jamie is more determined than ever to earn his place in the BE Cup finals.
The Heathcoat Cup
The next day – the Heathcoat Cup qualifier took place at Hatfield. PACE Boccia took three athletes to compete: Jagjit Chuk, Ramandeep Mann and Anton Walton – and the medals kept on coming!
Jagjit has been with PACE Boccia since it’s inception in 2008. Since the start of this year, Jagjit has been back full-time training at PACE Boccia after a season out due to injury. This season, Jagjit is determined to compete at the highest level, and the Heathcoat Cup is the first step. Competing in the BC3 category, Jagjit advanced to the semi-finals on points thanks to an incredibly strong performance against David Morgan, winning 9-1. In the semi-finals, Jagjit dominated the game from start to finish, winning three out of a possible four ends. In the end the score was 6-1 to Jagjit who advance to the Finals and was guaranteeed at least a silver medal. Unfortunately, Jagjit was unable to carry his performance from the semis to the Finals, losing 5-1 to Kai Shah, an athlete well known to PACE.
Coming second is still an incredible achievement for Jagjit, who hasn’t competed in a competitive Boccia event in over a year.
On his Hatfield success, Jagjit said…
I played really well and am pleased with my silver medal after a lot of hard work and training. Thanks to PACE and my family who have supported me over the years, and lastly my assistant who has only been training with me for a few months, but has really helped me up my game and confidence in this short time.
In her first competition individual competition, Ramandeep Mann (BC2) had a amazing showing at the Heathcoat Cup, winning a silver medal and qualifying for the Heathcoat Cup Finals. Instead of the usual group stage and knockout rounds, the BC2 athletes competed in a round robin (every athlete has to play each other.) There were five BC2 athletes in total. This brought both pro’s and con’s for Ramandeep – a round robin meant less matches to play, but in turn, less scope to slip up. Ramandeep is one of the most experienced athletes at PACE Boccia – famously securing the National League trophy for PACE A in 2017 with a perfect lay-up in ice cool fashion, at the most crucial stage in the final of the competition. This experience and many others served her well in the round robin, with the best result being a 14-1 victory over Natasha Drake.
Ramandeep finished 3rd overall, and achieved a bronze medal. On winning her bronze medal, Ramandeep said…
I played well and I came third got bronze and I’m qualified for the Heathcoat Cup final in April.
Anton is an athlete who always gives 100% when playing Boccia – this competition was no different. Out of the three, Anton had the toughest journey to the medals, with fourteen athletes, three groups and only four athletes could progress to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, Anton agonisingly just missed out on the chance to progress to the semi-finals, with a points difference of +2 when the highest scoring runner up scored +4. Anton finished 5th overall. Despite this, Anton still played some fantastic Boccia, his best score coming against Kim Newman, who lost 7-2.
Anton, I’m sure will reflect on the positives of Hatfield and apply it even more in future competitions, making sure he scores as many points as possible to maximise his chances of progression.
Overall it was an incredible weekend of Boccia for PACE. A total of five athletes competed across three classifications, winning four medals, and three athletes qualifying for the Finals later in the year. Congratulations to all the athletes who competed!