Canadian boccia players hunting for podiums at 2022 world championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

December 02, 2022

Competition gets underway Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro


MONTREAL – Canada’s boccia team is still a little grumpy about its performance at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games last summer and plans to come out firing on all cylinders at the 2022 World Boccia Championships, running December 6-13 in Rio de Janeiro.

“Tokyo was very exciting after being out so long due to the pandemic, but a little hard coming back because we didn’t do as well as we thought we would or should have,” said Alison Levine of Montreal, current world No. 3 and one of Canada’s top medal hopes at worlds in the women’s BC4 competition.

Heading into the world championships, Levine has worked extra hard in practice to regain top form. In the weeks leading up to the competition, she underwent a medical procedure followed by a bout with COVID. But she says despite a slow recovery, she feels ready for Rio.

She started the season with medal performances at her two World Cup appearances, including one also hosted in Rio. Both events were won by world No. 1 Leidy Chica Chica of Colombia.

“For each competition I keep the same strategy,” she said. “Just because a competition is more important than the other, you don’t need to change what you do. I’ve made it this far in my career by sticking to what works best and playing with confidence. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Joining Levine on the women’s side is Lois Martin and Kristyn Collins, both of St. John’s N.L., in the BC1 and BC2 classifications, as well as Joelle Guérette of Montreal in BC3. It will be a worlds debut for all three.

Three of the four Canadian men’s players are Paralympians returning from the Tokyo 2020 team: London 2012 bronze medallist Marco Dispaltro of St-Jerome, Que. and Iulian Ciobanu of Montreal in BC4, and Danik Allard of Bois-des-Filion, Que. in BC2. The trio is joined by Sydney 2000 Paralympian Lance Cryderman of Sudbury, Ont., competing in the BC1 category.

At 55, Dispaltro still seems as enthusiastic as a rookie heading to his first big competition.

“I’m back in the top-10 (No. 8) for the first time since 2016 so this is very encouraging for worlds,” said the three-time Paralympian and former world No. 1 in 2014. “I was fourth at the World Cup in Rio earlier this year so I know the place, I love the heat. My body’s loose and limber and I’m looking for a podium.”

Ciobanu, ranked 11th, feels he is primed to finish in the top three.

“My objective is to be on the podium,” said Ciobanu. “That’s what I’ve been preparing for, for many years. I feel my time has come. We are well prepared both for the team events and the individual events. I’ve beaten my top opponents in the past, so I feel I have all I need.”

Canada’s head coach César Nicolai says despite the pandemic and subpar Tokyo results, the team has benefitted from an important learning process that he thinks will now bring dividends.

“We had a hard period over COVID, but we were able to really focus on each player’s game and make some important adjustments,” he said. “We’ve had solid results this season, so it is paying off and with players like Marco, Alison, and Iulian the leadership and communication is there.”

Competition at the 2022 World Boccia Championships will take place December 6-13. For more information, please visit the official website at

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