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Rio Daily: Mixed Emotions for Team Singapore in Boccia

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It was a day of mixed emotions for Team Singapore Boccia players in the individual competition which ended with Nurulasyiqah Binte Mohammad Taha bowing out after two defeats while Toh Sze Ning enjoyed a wonderful win but a defeat which cost her a place in the last eight.

For Sze Ning, the day started with a fantastic victory as she delivered a top class performance to beat Brazilian Leme Antonio, the world number five, by 6-2.

 

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TeamSG boccia player Toh Sze Ning in action in the individual preliminaries. Photo: Sport Singapore

 

Antonio had the advantage of a home crowd behind him but that did not deter Sze Ning as she took the first end comprehensively, picking up four points. Playing with precision and confidence Sze Ning finished the competition off comfortably.

However, Sze Ning was unable to replicate that form in the early evening encounter with Sweden’s Maria Bjurstrom, with some loose play at times costing her dearly, as she lost 6-1.

“That was a disappointing match. She played well in her own ends but on the opponent’s end, she left her totally open with so many balls. We had a quick chat and I think it came down to more psychological aspects of the game where you need to be really strong to be able to come back,” said coach Tess Tan.

“She played so well this morning, it really is a consistency question and about playing at a high level when you are losing,” she said.

The elimination criteria means that unfortunately there is no result in the game between Bjurstrom and Antonio on Wednesday that would allow Sze Ning to advance.

Nurulasyiqah had a tough draw and was put up against South Korea’s world number one Jeong Ho-Won who defeated her 7-1 and then, despite a strong fight, she narrowly lost to Great Britain's Scott McCowan 2-3 in the afternoon game.

 

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TeamSG boccia player Nurulasyiqah Binte Mohammad Taha in action in the individual preliminaries. Photo: Sport Singapore

 

Tess said the players were naturally disappointed with their losses. “I would be upset if they did not get upset about losing. Usually it takes them a good night’s rest and then they are ready to go again,” she said.

The pair had finished fourth in the mixed pairs competition, above their seventh placed ranking in the world and Tess said that the experience as a whole had been positive.

“I think overall we exceeded expectations in the pairs. For Sze Ning, she exceeded expectations with the win over the Brazilian and world number five but for Nurul, it was tough when she was up against the world number one.

Overall, in terms of their performances we can be satisfied and I think we performed above expectations,” she said.

Team manager Kelly Chong added, “The team put in a great effort overall. We will work on the issues back home and then in four years later in Tokyo, we will go again”.

 

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