Golds for Smith and McGuire in Kansas

Great Britain won three individual medals at the BISFed World Open Kansas, with BC1 Gold for David Smith MBE, BC4 Gold for Stephen McGuire and BC3 Silver for Jamie McCowan.

 BC1 Champ David Smith MBE

BC1 Champ David Smith MBE

 BC4 winner Stephen McGuire

BC4 winner Stephen McGuire

Smith sailed through his pool with four straightforward victories, scoring 33 points and only conceding three. A further sixteen unanswered points followed in the quarter final against the USA’s Brigid Mason. The semi final was a closer affair against Slovakia’s Tomas Kral, a player recently reclassified having previously competed as a BC2. Smith however was always in control, and was 5-0 up after three ends before Kral took two consolation points on the final end. That set up a repeat of the Rio Paralympic Games final and Smith was dominant in an 8-0 victory over Daniel Perez of the Netherlands. The Gold medal meant that Smith has won the last five international competitions he has entered and will be red hot favourite to win European Gold in Portugal in October.

McGuire followed a similar pattern to Smith as he cruised through his pool with three wins from three matches, scoring 20 points in the process. The draw opened up as World number 2 Samuel Andrecijk didn’t make it out of his pool. McGuire did have to face surprise package Duban Cely of Colombia, part of the Gold medal winning pair that had defeated McGuire and his team mates Evie Edwards and Louis Saunders on their way to the title. McGuire triumphed 7-2 before meeting Canada’s Alison Levine in the semi. McGuire raced into a 5-0 lead after two ends. Levine mounted a comeback but could not catch the Scot as the match finished 5-3. Waiting in the final was the other half of the Colombian Pair, Euclides Grisales. Again, McGuire started strongly and was 3-0 up after two ends. A tied third end took the score to 4-1 and McGuire kept it tight in the final end to only concede one and take the title with a 4-2 victory.

The other GB BC4 in action was Louis Saunders, making his international debut. Celebrating his sixteenth birthday while in Kansas, Saunders also notched his first international win, a 4-3 victory over Nobuyuki Takada of Japan. He will also have learnt from defeats in his other pool matches by seasoned athletes Robert Durkovic of Slovakia and Iulian Ciobanu of Canada and has a bright future in the international game.

McCowan and Patrick Wilson went for GB in the BC3 event. McCowan topped his pool, with two resounding victories and a narrower 4-2 win over Daniel Michel of Australia who was bidding to add to his Pairs Gold from earlier in the week. Wilson went through second in his pool having suffered defeat in his first match but beating Jesus Romero of Colombia after a double tie break in the last pool game. His quarter final against World number 2 Grigoris Polychronidis also went to a tie break after the game finished 4-4 but for the second time Wilson succumbed in the tie break. McCowan beat Eric Bussiere of Canada 6-1 in his quarter final and Wilson’s conqueror Polychronidis lay in wait in the semi. The Greek was grinding out his route to the final with a point in each of the first three ends but McCowan forced the tie break with an amazing comeback, taking three points on the final end. The momentum was with McCowan and he duly took the tiebreak and a place in the final where he would battle Michel for Gold. He was unable to repeat his pool stage victory however as Michel did the double.

Earlier in the week the BC3 Pair had missed out on a medal, losing to Canada in the semi final and Japan in the third place playoff. The BC4 Pair did not make it out of their pool after narrow 3-2 losses against both Canada and eventual winners Colombia. The individual medal haul however means that GB travel to Portugal in October with high hopes of medal success.