Strategy and Experience Dominate at 2024 Défi Sportif AlterGo National Boccia Open

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 29, 2024

Boccia is a game of strategy, precision, and skill. Athletes put all of that to the test in Montréal, Québec this past weekend for the annual Défi Sportif AlterGo National Boccia Open. The competition really showcased the strategic mindset of the athletes.

Esraa was one of the many Montréal-based athletes to compete at this competition

By Boccia Canada
Boccia Canada’s High-Performance Director, Mario Delisle was impressed, explaining “It’s always fun observing upcoming talent. Of course, it’s great to see familiar faces performing, as they should, while some newcomers challenging them at this event too.” 
In the Open class, Ariane Soulard (Montréal, QC) won her first National Open gold medal. Since breezily wheeling into the sport three years ago, after having participated mostly in powerchair soccer, Soulard has kept exceeding expectations, winning silver in 2023 before taking gold this year. “I was proud and surprised by the win” said Soulard. “I was surprised by the way I threw the balls at this competition. My strategy was to use specific types of balls at different times.” Nancie Caldwell (Montréal, QC) won silver, while Myriam Morin (Montréal, QC) placed third.
A familiar face topped the podium in the BC4/BC5 class. Marc-Antoine Goupil (Montréal, QC) went undefeated to bring home another gold. “It’s been an honour to compete here amongst this class of high-performance athletes” said Goupil. “It was fun to play at this kind of level. I felt in good shape to compete and my strategy was throwing the ball long.”
Another athlete who went undefeated was BC3’s Esraa Sbeiti (Montréal, QC) who improved on her 2022 silver medal, this time winning gold against a deep field. Behind Sbeiti, was Alexandre Raymond (Sorel-Tracy, QC) in second place and Josh Gautier (Niagara Falls, ON), who nabbed bronze in a nail-biting tiebreaker against fellow Ontarian Carter Plumb (Brampton, ON).
Former national team member and seasoned veteran Hanif Mawji (Burnaby, BC), won gold in the BC1 division. His performance partner and dad, Hussein Mawji was happy to see his son still “in the mix”: “He’s very proud of his winnings. Hanif, once again, proved himself in the face of adversity.” Hanif Mawji went on to say that “I owe this performance to my determination to always to excel in boccia at whatever level I’m playing.” Mawji is still eager to push the envelope, three years after leaving international competition. Up and comer Kyle Scott (Hamilton, ON) came in second and Chris Halpen (Victoria, BC) placed third.
The BC2 class had the most participants this year. The BC2 final was a battle of “the Oliviers”, with Olivier Roy (Québec City, QC) winning 8-2 against Olivier Dussault (Québec City, QC). Former National Espoir teammates, the Oliviers, both hail from Québec City and train together with the Lions Boccia club. Roy said, “I owe my performance to the feedback and suggestions of my coaches at this competition. It’s a great indicator of what’s to come. Of course, playing Olivier [Dussault] wasn’t easy and I consider him like a brother to me, but I’m happy to be on the podium with him.” Christopher Labelle (Blainville, QC) took third, winning against Ontario’s Dominic Gomez.
Find all results from the competition here.

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