Portugal and Spain recorded big wins in Boccia's Team event, while the Republic of Korea's BC3 pair eased into the semifinals and Hungarian BC4 pair crashed out at the Fencing Hall on Wednesday, September 10.
Great Britain took the top spot in group A after winning a tight contest with Argentina 6-4, with BC1 World No. 2 David Smith of Great Britain looking back to his best after a disappointing individual competition. With only three teams in each of the four groups, two wins are enough to qualify for the quarterfinals. Earlier the World No. 1 British team beat Canada 7-6.
Argentina's qualified in the second spot as it beat Canada in the team's other match. Joining them in the quarterfinals are World No. 2 Portugal and Norway from group B. Portugal's Joao Paulo Fernandes is going for consecutive double Paralympic gold medals and after his team's impressive wins over Norway 19-1 and Japan 7-4, it looks a real possibility.
Spain also qualified after recording two huge wins over Ireland 12-1 and Finland 16-1. The World No. 3 team includes top ranked individual athlete Javier Francisco Beltran and new Individual bronze medalist, Manuel Angel Martin. Ireland is into the last eight after beating Finland 7-3. China topped its Group after beating New Zealand 8-4 and Hong Kong 7-3. Hong Kong took second place with an 8-2 win over New Zealand.
Portugal made a strong start to the Pairs competition winning both its group B matches against Greece and New Zealand on Wednesday. Armando Costa and Mario Peixoto saw off the challenge of New Zealand with an 8-4 victory. Later they made light work of Greece, winning 5-2. Thailand ended the day in second place in the group after beating Greece 5-2 but suffered defeat to New Zealand, 4-2. Greece, with the World No. 6 pair Grigorios Polychronidis and Dimitrios Michos, struggled in both its matches and can no longer qualify for the semifinals on Thursday.
In group A, Park Keon-woo and Jeong Ho-won of Republic of Korea looked formidable winning both their matches comfortably. Boosted by their respective successes in the Individual competition on Tuesday, where Park won gold and Jeong won bronze, the ROK started with a 9-2 win over China and then later beat Canada 9-1. The Chinese pair Shen Cong and Zhu Heqiao later upset World No. 4 Spanish duo Santiago Pesquera and Jose Manual Rodriguez 5-1, and sit in third spot in the group behind the Spanish, the silver medalists in Athens, who earlier beat Canada 9-5. The top two pairs after three group matches will advance to the semifinals on Thursday.
The top ranked pairs of Portugal and Spain made perfect starts to the competition, winning both their matches in group A and B respectively. Athens silver medalists Fernando Perreira and Bruno Valentim of Portugal started with a comfortable 7-0 victory over China and later won 6-5 after a tie-break end against Czech Republic in group A. Leung Yuk-wing and Lau Wai Yan Vivian of Hong Kong sit second in group A after beating China 8-4, but losing to the Czech Republic 4-2. Leung, who won this competition in Athens with his former partner, showed precision skills to help come back from four points behind after the first end. Chinese pair Ni Suili and Qi Cuifang failed to follow up their strong performance in the individual competition, and after two defeats cannot advance to the semifinals.
In group B, the World No. 2 pair from Spain, Jose Maria Dueso and Maria Desamparados Baixauli, beat Brazil 5-0 and Slovakia 6-1 and are certain to qualify. Slovakia produced the upset of the day beating world ranked No. 3 Dezso Beres and Jozsef Gyurkota of Hungary, the bronze medal winners from Athens. Brazilians Dirceu Pinto and Eliseu Santos inflicted a second defeat on the Hungarians, meaning they too cannot qualify. The top two pairs after three group matches will advance to the semifinals.
(BOCOG September 10, 2008)