Pádraic within a hair’s width of winning medal
PARALYMPICS TIGHTEST OF FINISHES IN BOCCIA QUARTER-FINAL
A SHEET OF PAPER had to be used to measure the difference between Bray Boccia star Padraic Moran and his quarterfinal opponent before fans learned that the Bray man had been knocked out of the singles competition in the 2008 Paralympic games last Monday.
Victory there, and a subsequent spot in the semi-finals, would have brought him at least a bronze medal.
Padraic, however, has effectively moved from 25th in the world to 5th in the world and still has a chance of winning a medal in the team event, which starts today (Wednesday)
In the individual competition, Padraic was in great form as he advanced as pool winner to the quarter-final against Yi Wang of China, in front of his home crowd. That quarter-final match was a gripping affair. The pair couldn’t be separated after the four scheduled ‘ends’ (similar to sets) and the contest went to a tie break. In essence, in Boccia the player to get most of their balls closest to the jack wins.
With one ball each left in the tiebreak and Moran closest, the Chinese player threw a perfect last ball to inch Moran’s out of pole position, to an explosive cheer by the home crowd. Moran held his nerve however and with no alternative went for it with his last ball, landing a mere fraction of a centimetre further away from the jack than Wang’s, to exit the competition in the cruelest fashion possible.
‘Obviously I’m disappointed,’ said Padraic. ‘But to get to the quarter finals in my first Paralympics is a massive achievement. I tried everything, it was only a fraction in the tie break. I’ll be back, and in London in 2012. It’s time to move on and focus on the team event as that’s the most important thing now.’
Meanwhile, the 7-a-side football team, with Bray’s Gary Messet, played out a thrilling encounter on Monday but unfortunately lost out 4-2 to world number two Iran in their opening pool game. They face world champions Ukraine in their next game.
Pádraic Moran in action during the Paralympics in Beijing.