Canada Packs its Bags for Rio!

May 2, 2015

Defi Sportif

Montreal, May 2, 2015 – There are some memories that are forever engraved in the mind. One such memory will surely be Team Canada’s win in double BC4 against Brazil, during the final match of the BISFed 2015 Americas Team and Pairs Boccia Championships, which took place Saturday in Montreal during the Défi Sportif AlterGo.

Quebec athletes Iulian Ciobanu, Marco Dispaltro, and Alison Levine ran away with the victory 10-0 from the world’s number one ranked team to win the tournament and also qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Wow, it's surreal! This is my first international medal and it's a gold that’s enabled me to qualify Canada for Rio!” exclaimed Montreal’s Alison Levine, who scored solid throws throughout the entire match.

“It was a bit of miracle,” commented Marco Dispaltro, Team veteran and bronze medallist from the London 2014 Paralympic Games. “We needed to really play our best and hope that the Brazilian team weren’t at their best and somehow that’s exactly what happened.”

“It was a huge challenge. I believed we could do it, but the odds were still pretty slim,” admitted National Team Coach Mario Delisle. “Finishing first, but above all beating the world’s number one ranked team has given us a real boost for next year and for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”

Defeated 5-1 by Columbia at the start of the tournament, Canada then began a string of shut-outs: Argentina 8-0, Chile 9-0, then the United States of America 7-0. Their only defeat nonetheless put Canada in a delicate position – forcing them to win their last game of the weekend by at least 8 points if they wanted to remain in contention for qualification. Columbia made Canada’s task easy with Columbia’s second defeat of the tournament against Argentina in the former’s last match.

Dispaltro and Levine hit hard in the first leg, taking a 4-0 advance. “I was less ready in the first leg, but Alison came out strong, which gave us unshakable confidence and set the tone for the match,” recounted Dispaltro.

Canada remained in the lead by scorning three points in the following round, then added two more in the third round, ending with a score of 9-0. 

In the final match, Canada were guaranteed to score after Brazil had thrown all its balls; as a result, Canada chose not to play their last balls and thus ended the game with their 10-0 win. 

“I am so thrilled for the entire team. Alison hasn’t been playing for very long and Iulian is also a newer recruit. It was huge match to go after, with tonnes of pressure, and yet we succeeded,” explained Dispaltro. The results enabled Canada to add several points the scoreboard. 

“Never! I’ve never beaten Brazil, and here we have with two rookies. It’s a fantastic moment,” continued Saint-Jérôme native Dispaltro, who counts this win as a career highlight. “In addition to qualifying the country for the upcoming Paralympics, we’ve also earned valuable world-ranking points.” 

Saturday’s victory certainly gave wings to Team Canada - “Now I can’t wait until the next tournament to see how we measure up against European teams,” enthused Dispaltro.

The team’s dedication in training, their solid results at the recent Canadian Championships, and their confidence were all part of the recipe for success that helped them win Saturday, according to Coach Mario Delisle.

Canada also qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the Double BC3 category, thanks to hard work from Éric Bussière, Paul Gauthier and Kevin Shaw, who put together a string of wins against Argentina 8-0, Colombia 6-3, and the United States of America 10-2. Their sole defeat of the tournament was against Brazil, who won 5-3.

“This has been a great tournament for the team. I am incredibly pleased to see a second team qualify for Rio,” added Coach Delisle.

Today was more difficult for Canada in the BC1-BC2 class, where Hanif Mawji and Keven Smith-Worthylake suffered three defeats in six matches. Mawji and Smith-Worthylake finished in third place behind Argentina and Brazil.

“Friday was tough for them, but they made good plays. Nothing is lost in terms of getting to the Games, there will be other chances for them to catch up and qualify,” explained Coach Delisle.

About Défi sportif AlterGo

Défi sportif AlterGo is a one-of-a-kind international event that brings together over 6,000 elite and upcoming athletes with disabilities. From April 27th to May 3rd, 2015, more than 5,000 athletes will be competing in Montréal and on the South Shore. Défi sportif AlterGo is an opportunity to live a unique experience, discover high-caliber competitions free of charge and meet athletes from all over the world. An opportunity to see people with a disability in a different light.


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Written by Sportcom for Défi sportif AlterGo.