Three the magic number for Great Britain as trio crowned European boccia champions
David Smith’s remarkable comeback paved the way for a hat-trick of European titles on a golden day for Great Britain’s boccia stars.
Smith – already a two-time European champion before competition started in Portugal – found himself 4-0 down to Mikhail Gutnik with one end to play, the BC1 gold medal seemingly headed towards his Russian opponent.
But double Paralympic gold medallist Smith is not one for succumbing to defeat, scoring five points in the final end to turn the match on its head and crown the Brit European champion.
Yet three was the magic number for Britain in Povoa de Varzim as more gold medals followed, first for Stephen McGuire before Jamie McCowan completed the trio – both adding to the silver medals they won earlier in the week in the BC4 and BC3 Pairs respectively.
Finding himself tied at 1-1 after two ends, McGuire then powered away to win 6-1 against Russia’s Sergey Safin, whom he had lost to earlier in the competition, to add the BC4 European title to his 2016 world crown.
McCowan pulled off a comeback of his own in the BC3 gold medal match after finishing the penultimate end 7-4 down – having already fought back from a 6-0 deficit against Damian Iskrzycki.
The 22-year-old scored four points in the final end to turn the match in his favour and secure his first individual European triumph.
They weren’t the only Brits in action on the final day of competition however as three of their teammates reached the quarter-final stage.
Claire Taggart, 2015 European Team and Pairs champion, saw her campaign ended 6-1 by Israel’s Nadav Levi having earlier progressed through the first elimination round.
It was a last eight finish too for McCowan’s elder brother Scott, who captained the GB pair to European bronze four years ago.
He lost 7-2 to Grigorios Polychronidis of Greece after a huge result in the last 16 with a 13-0 triumph over Russia’s Evgenii Maslovskiy.
Elsewhere, Patrick Wilson edged past Aleksandr Legostaev before missing out 4-1 to Iskrzycki.