With the 2015 Boccia European Continental Cup scheduled to get underway on March 31 in San Cuqat, Spain, ParaSport News is profiling some of the teams and competitors. The event is an important one on the global Paralympic program as it serves as a warmup event for 2016 Paralympic Games qualifying season, and gives competitor additional international experience ahead of the July 2015 BISFed Boccia European Championships, in Surrey, United Kingdom.
- Czech Republic
- Faroe Islands
- Great Britain
The country is sending a five athlete strong delegation that includes BC1 Intigam Safarov, BC2 Elvin Abbasov, Tahir Zulfugarli, and BC4 Chimnaz Guliyeva and Fariz Karimov.
Coming into the competition, Azerbaijan is unranked globally in the team competition. None of the country’s competitors are individually ranked.
Coming into the competition, Belgium is unranked globally in the team competition. They are ranked sixth in the world and fourth in Europe in the BC3 pair event.
Belgium is sending a small delegation of only three competitors, all in the BC3 class. This includes Pieter Cilissen, Kenneth Verwimp, and Julie Lamberechts. Kirsten de Laender, who finished sixth at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, is not part of the team.
Coming into the competition, Croatia is unranked globally in the team competition. They are ranked thirtieth in the world in the BC3 pairs event. In the BC4 pairs event, Croatia is ranked sixteenth in the world.
The Czech Republic goes to Spain ranked eighth in Europe and seventeenth in the world in the team event. They are ranked sixth in Europe and eleventh in the world in the BC3 pairs event. In the BC4 pairs event, they are ranked eleventh in the world.
The country is sending a six athlete strong delegation. It includes BC1 Katerina Curinova, BC2 Frantisek Serbus, BC3 Jozef Suchy, Jiri Svojanovsky and Kamil Vasicek, and BC4 Radek Procházka.
Procházka is a 2012 Summer Paralympian, finishing sixth in the BC4 individual event. He also participated in the BC4 pair event, where he won a silver medal.
Coming into the competition, the Faroe Islands are unranked globally in the team competition. The country is sending one competitor, BC3 Aki Joensen. He is currently ranked sixty-fourth in the world in the BC3 individual event.
Germany goes to Spain as the bottom ranked team globally and in Europe in the team event, at twenty-eighth and twelveth respectively. Germany is ranked eighth in Europe and eighteenth in the world in the BC3 pairs event. In the BC4 pairs event, Germany is ranked last in Europe and twenty-second in the world.
Great Britain enters the competition ranked number one in the world in the team competition. The country is also ranked first in the world in the BC3 pairs event. In the BC4 pairs event, Team GB is ranked second in the world. They are sending ten competitors to Spain, including BC1 David Smith, BC2 Nigel Murray, Claire Taggart and Joshua Rowe, BC3 Jacob Thomas, Scott McCowan and Jess Hunter, and BC4 Stephen McGuire, Kieran Steer and Evie Edwards.
Murray and Smith are the only members from the bronze medal winning BC1-2 team in London. Dan Bentley and Zoe Robinson are not going to Spain.
McGuire comes into this competition after finishing fourth in the BC4 individual competition in London. McGuire is currently ranked sixth in the world. Peter McGuire who finished eighth and last for Team GB in the event in London is not on the roster.
Smith is another London Paralympian on the team, winning silver in the BC1 individual event. He is ranked first in the world in the BC1 event.
Murray is the third Paralympian competing in an individual event, finishing seventh in the BC2 individual event. In the individual event, he is ranked seventh in the world.
Rowe is currently ranked twentieth in the world in the BC2 individual event. Thomas is ranked fourth in the world in the BC3 individual event, while McCowan is ranked seventh and Hunter is ranked forty-second. Edwards is ranked fifty-seventh in the world in the BC4 individual event.
Members of the English team were at a national training team camp in early February at West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom.
Greece goes to Spain ranked sixth in Europe and fourteenth in the world. They are ranked fourth in the world and third in Europe in the BC3 pair event. In the BC4 pairs event, they are ranked seventh in the world and third in Europe.
They are sending a nine member deep team, which includes BC1 Panagiotis Soulanis, BC2 Alexandros Papadakis and Christos Gallaios, BC3 Grigorios Polychronidis, Nikolaos Pananos and Anna Ntenta, and BC4 Niko Vasili, Chrysi Morfi Metzou and Marinos Gonias
Polychronidis represented Greece at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, where he finished fifth in the BC3 individual competition.
Ireland comes into the competition as one of the bottom ranked teams in the world and in Europe at twenty-fith and eleventh respectively. Only Germany ranks lower in the team event. Ireland is ranked tenth in Europe and twentieth in the world in the BC3 pairs event.
The country is sending a seven deep team, including BC1 competitor Niamh Dunphy, BC2 Padraic Moran, Dylan Nelson and Padhraic Dormer, and BC3 Connor Corroon, Michael O’Dowd, and Patrick Kelly.
Of the BC1 and BC2 competitors going to Spain, only Moran was a member of the 2012 Summer Paralympics Irish team competing in the BC1-2 team event.
Norway is sending a three athlete strong delegation, including BC1 Roger Aandelen, and BC2 Roar Femtegjeld and Nina Arvesen.
Aandelen is a 2012 Summer Paraylmpian, who won bronze for Norway in the BC2 individual event.
Portugal is sending a 11 deep team, with Antonio Marques and João Paulo Fernandes competing in BC1, Abílio Valente, Cristina Gonçalves and Fernando Ferreria competing in the BC2 class. In the BC3 class, Portugal is sending Armando Costa, José Carlos Macedo and Luís Silva. In the BC4 class, Portugal is sending Domingos Vieira, Nuno Guerreiro and Pedreo Da Clara.
As a team, they are ranked fifth in the world and third in the Europe. Continentaly, only Slovakia and Great Britain are better. The country ranks third in the world and second in Europe in the BC3 pair event. In the BC4 pairs event, they are ranked tenth in the world.
Macedo is a returning 2012 Summer Paralympian, who won bronze in the BC3 individual event.
Costa is another 2012 Paralympian on the team, finishing last in the eight deep field in the BC3 competition in London. He won two gold medals at the 2004 Summer Paralympics, and a gold and silver medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics. Last year, he was one of several Portuguese Paralympians to earn a scholarship from Comité Paralímpico de Portugal sponsor Jogos Santa Casa to assist in competing at the highest level.
Fernandes is the team’s third 2012 Paralympian. He finished fifth in the BC1 individual competition. The thirty-year-old has three Paralympic golds under his belt, with a pair from the 2004 Games in the BC1 individual event and BC1-BC2 team event, and gold in the BC1 individual from the 2008 Summer Paralympics. He also has a silver from the 2008 Summer Paralympics in the BC1-BC2 team event. He has a silver medal from the 2006 Rio hosted BISFED World Championships in the BC1-BC2 team event.
Valente is the country’s fourth 2012 Paralympian going to Spain. He finished fifth in the BC2 individual event. He was also part of the Portuguese BC1-BC2 team event in London along with Fernandes.
Russia comes into this competition ranked fifteenth in the world in the team event, and seventh in Europe. Russia is ranked ninth in Europe and nineteenth in the world in the BC3 pairs event. In the BC4 pairs event, Russia is ranked fourteenth in the world.
The Spanish side enters the competition ranked fifth in the world and fourth in the world. Spain is ranked seventh in the Europe and twelfth in the world in the BC3 pairs event. In the BC4 pairs event, Spain is ranked fifteenth in the world.
Spain has ten competitors participating at the home hosted event. They include BC1 Ferran Rivas Valdivia and Oriol Roquetas del Rio, BC2 Benito Sanchez Martin, Pedro Cordero Martín and Manuel Angel Martinez Perez, BC3 Wafid Boucherit, Sandra Peña Cortes and Francisco Javier Martinez, and BC4 Alex Trullas and Alejandro Piquero.
Cordero is from Barcelona, and represented Spain at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Paralympics. He won a pair of bronze medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games in the BC1-BC2 team event, won bronze in that event at the 2010 World Championships, a pair of silvers in the event 2003 and 2007 World Cup events. He won a bronze at a 2003 World Cup eventin the individual BC2 event. He was a member of the Spain teams that won bronze at the 2005 European Championships and silver at the 2007 World Cup. He won team bronze at the 2009 European Championships. In 2013, he joined Infinits Somriures Boccia Club and propelled himself to the top of the Spanish rankings in his class. He competed at the European championships in 2013 where he was eliminated in the group stage.
Martinez is from Granada, and is affiliated with Amics de la Boccia. He won a bronze medal in the BC2 individual event at the 2010 World Championships. At the 2011 Spanish club championships, he finished second in the BC2 individual event. He has been active in participating in national team training camps, and represented Spain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, where his team lost 4 – 5 in the round of 16 At
Sweden is sending a three athlete strong delegation, which includes Maria Bjurstrom, Christoffer Hagdahl, and Sebastian Hogrell.
Coming into the competition, Sweden is unranked globally in the team competition. They are ranked tenth in the world in the BC3 pairs competition and fifth in Europe. Hagdahl is currently ranked twelfth in the world in the BC3 individual event, while Bjurstrom is ranked seventeenth and Hogrell is ranked twenty-first.