MONTREAL – Boccia player Alison Levine couldn’t have picked a better place to win her first gold medal in international competition.
The Montreal native triumphed in her hometown Thursday in the BC4 disability class at the Montreal World Open and in the process climbed to number-two in the world rankings.
The 28-year-old who has muscular dystrophy won the final in unusual fashion when her opponent Seong-Yuk Jang of South Korea was disqualified for being issued a second yellow card in the tournament for a ball violation before the match started.
Up to that point, Levine went undefeated in three pool play matches, then won her quarterfinal 5-2 over Elieu dos Santos of Brazil and defeated sixth-ranked Boris Nicolai of Germany 4-2 in the semis.
“Part of being an athlete is being responsible for your equipment,’’ said Levine, fourth at the world championships last year. ‘’I was responsible for my equipment in making sure it was in order.’’
Similar to lawn bowls, boccia is a game of precision that demands intense focus. The primary objective is to throw leather balls as close to the jack as possible.
Before the final, Jang’s balls did not pass international standards testing and the judges ruled the softness of his playing balls would give him a competitive advantage. Levine was automatically awarded the victory.
BC4 coach César Nicolai believes that the future is bright for Levine: “It’s the first time Alison has won a gold medal at a Boccia World Open and she’s following the logical progression. She won a bronze in 2017 and silver in 2018. Alison is improving and it’s great to see.”
The tournament, being held at the Défi sportif – an annual multi-sport event for people with disabilities – saw more good news for Canada in the BC2 category.
National boccia training squad member, BC2 player Danik Allard of Bois-des-Filion, Que., took fourth spot.
National team coach Mario Delisle is excited about the 18-year-old’s future on the team.
“Danik was particularly surprising and I cannot wait to see the impact of his presence in the team event as the tournament continues.”
Levine also competes this weekend in the pairs and team events with Marco Dispaltro of St-Jérôme, Que. and Iulian Ciobanu of Montreal. The competition is taking place at the Maurice-Richard Arena.
For more information: http://www.bisfed.com/latest-results/