Australian boccia has achieved its best result in 25 years after Dan Michel and ramp assistant Ash McClure secured a bronze medal in the individual BC3 singles at Tokyo 2020.
It was a dominant performance by Michel who bounced back emphatically from his defeat in the semi finals 24 hours earlier.
He set the first game up against Great Britain’s Scott McCowan, taking the end 3-0 playing a long court game before consolidating the lead winning the second end 1-0. A tense 3rd end saw him secure another 2-0 win which created an unassailable 6-0 lead going into the final end.
McCowan put up a good fight in the 4th end, playing a strong long court game but ultimately couldn’t secure more than one point, granting Michel a 6-1 win and the bronze medal.
“I’m heaps excited with it, it’s the first medal for Australia (in Boccia) since 1996 and first ever individual medal so it’s a massive achievement,” Michel said.
“I’m super happy to respond from the adversity yesterday, tough game and to come and win in a dominant fashion was really important to me.
“From the outset I think I executed the plan really, really well…and happy to carry it out to the standard that I did.”
Kris Bignall and Tu Huyhn are the only other Australians to have ever won a Paralympic medal in boccia. They combined for bronze in the mixed pairs C1 ward event at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Twenty-five years later, Michel’s final was shown live on Channel Seven in Australia in a seminal moment for the sport.
The incredible exposure through the broadcast on Seven and a medal winning performance has Michel hoping to draw more people into Boccia.
“Obviously being a Boccia player and being involved in the sport for so long I know what the sport’s all about and the potential that it has and the appeal that it has as well so to see it finally coming to the fore is pretty cool,” he said.
Securing a Paralympic medal has been a dream of Michel’s since his Games debut in Rio and while the bronze is welcomed, is hasn’t damped his drive for higher honours.
“(I’m) just really happy to get the medal after the heartbreak in the semi there, to bow out like that and coming here in a must win for a medal, to get across the line is really awesome so yeah, I’m hungry for more but I’m really satisfied with this result,” he said.
Michel’s Paralympic Games tournament continues tomorrow with the BC3 Teams event. The Aussies will be in action from 11.55am JPT / 12.55pm AEST when they take on the home team Japan in their first pool round.
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By: Jodie Hawkins, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 1 September 2021