A tie break ended the Australian Boccia teams’ Paralympic campaign after the BC3 pairs were defeated by Hong Kong, China in their final preliminary match of the day.
Competing in the pairs competition, the Aussie combination of Spencer Cotie, Jamieson Leeson and Individual Bronze Medallist Daniel Michel were gunning for their spot in the semi-finals.
After earlier wins in the day against Portugal (4-3) and Brazil (5-2) the Aussies were stretched against the world no.2 Hong Kong.
The teams pushed each other throughout with scores locked 3-3 after the four ends pushing the game into a tie breaker.
With a spot in the semi-final on offer, Hong Kong, China were able to win the tie-breaker 1-0, meaning the Aussies finished third in their pool.
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Jamieson Leeson, at her maiden Paralympic Games, relished the experience on the world stage despite the team not getting the result they were chasing.
“Today’s been a massive day having three games in one day, and Hong Kong put up a really big fight it what was an incredible Games to be included in,” said Leeson.
Cotie agreed saying “it was a really tight game and we played well but credit to Hong Kong, they were better than us and I expect them to make the gold medal match.”
For recently crowned Michel, he couldn’t help feel the disappointment given the spotlight Boccia in Australia has been able to receive.
“I know we are all disappointed, but I think we will take some solace from the fact we were so close and if we were just one or two percent better we might have crossed the line so we will focus on that for next time,” said Michel.
Despite not getting the result they were after the team are thrilled to be part of raising the profile of the sport.
“The Games have really put boccia on the map, not only in terms of the boccia world but also back home in Australia. It’s a very underappreciated sport, so to have people I don’t even know talking about boccia is a pretty surreal and special thing,” said Michel.
“We work fantastically, we train so much together and have come along in leaps and bounds, Spencer has been a long time campaigner with me now and knows the game so well and is someone I have so much faith in so it’s really just an honour to share the comp with them and play with them,” said Michel.
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With Paris 2024 only three years away the team have their sights set on future honours with the team hoping to take another shot at the podium.
“I will go back to uni and start preparing for Paris,” said Cotie.
In support her Paris aspirations, Lesson is hoping to relocate to Sydney from Dunedoo after completing her HSC this year.
“I usually go to Sydney every second week to train with the boys and then train at home on the other weeks, so I’ll really be able to pick up my training for Paris,” said Leeson.
By: Amanda Scott, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 4 September 2021