Greece’s Boccia team won Portugal with 4-1 and managed the Gold medal in the category Boccia Mixed Pairs in London Paralympics 2012. The team consists of Maria-Eleni Kordali, Nikolaos Pananos and Grigorios Polychronidis.
The Greek pair of Nikolaos Pananos and Grigorios Polychronidis won their three sets and lost one against Portugal’s pair of Armando Costa and Luis Silva by scores of 2-0, 1-0, 1-0 and 0-1.
Greek fans entousiastically supported the team and shouted Bravo! after their shots. Following the Greek win, supporters broke out into rhythmic clapping, continued their flag waving and chanted their joy. One of the Greeks rolled his electric wheelchair around with a smile on his face and and posed for pictures.
Georgian-born Polychronidis, who has an accounting degree from the Athens University of Economics and Business, came into the games having earned a silver medal in the individual event at the Beijing Paralympics. Having spinal muscular atrophy, he took up the sport at university where he was introduced to it by George Tzimas.
The Irish boccia BC1-2 team has lost to Korea and Brazil, ending their participation in the event.
Ireland lost their first match to Korea on a scoreline of 14-3.
The team, consisting of Padraic Moran, Gabriel Shelly, Roberta Connolly and Tom Leahy, then looked to bounce back against Brazil, but went down 11-2, meaning they fail to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
Good luck to DCU athlete, Padraic Moran who will be competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games which begin on Wednesday 29th August in London.
Competing in the Boccia team event, Padraic has previously won Gold as an individual BC1 player in the World Boccia Championships in Lisbon in 2010 and has since been reclassified as a BC2 athlete, meaning he does not have an assistant on court. Padraic has cerebral palsy and balances his training with studying Communications at DCU and working as a producer in East Coast FM. Speaking about the Paralympic Games Padraic says, “The next generation of athletes that come through, they’re going to see what we go through, they’re going to see the emotion and it will inspire people.”
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He’s still the self-styled Boccia baby, though this Boccia baby has a World Championship to his name from 2010.
Padraic, who has celebral palsy, has backed Ireland’s team to inspire a nation in the London Games, which begin in two week’s time.
The 49 athletes and 48 support staff set off for Portugal this morning for a warm weather training camp ahead of the games. Last night they were at Bewleys Hotel for their send off. Along with well over a thousand well-wishers and The Sawdoctors.
Padraic told Alan Keane that he can’t wait to see the Irish support that awaits them in London.
What is boccia, you might ask?
Let Padraic explain.
Hailing from Mallow, Johnny Cronin has competed in every major championship in his chosen sport, Boccia, since 1997. Boccia is a precision sport where athletes require a wheelchair where the aim of the game is to throw a ball a close as they can to a target. Johnny, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, won gold at Sydney 2000 and he competes in both singles and doubles championships although he will be appearing in the individual only at this years games. No stranger to big wins, Johnny has also won various medal at World Championships including silver at the 2006 World Cup in Brazil.