Team gold for Bouron in Costa Rica

Pathway athlete Lucie Bouron combined with Sweden’s Anna-carin Ahlquist to win gold in the women’s class 2-4 team event on the final day of the Copa Costa Rica in San José today and there were bronze medals for Alex Bland and Ryan Henry in men’s class 6-8 and Jack Stockdale and Shae Thakker in men’s class 9-10.

After taking singles bronze 24 year old Bouron from Bracknell teamed up with class 3 World number one and European champion Ahlquist in the team event and the pair began with a 2-0 win against the USA team of Cynthia Ranii and Valerie Rolph, taking the doubles 3-0 and Ahlquist defeating Rolph 3-0. They again combined to win the doubles 3-0 against the Japanese team of Yukimi Chada and Mayumi Ozawa and Ahlquist secured the tie with a 3-0 win against Ozawa after Bouron lost to Chada in the first singles match.

Bouron and Ahlquist recovered from losing the first set of the doubles against Maria Constanza Garrone from Argentina and Manuela Guapi Guzman from Colombia to beat the South American duo 3-1 and Ahlquist again won the tie with a 3-0 win against Guapi Guzman after Bouron had put up a determined fight against the in-form Garrone, twice levelling the match before the PanAmerican team medallist took the first singles 3-2.

They won their final match against Edith Sigala Lopez from Mexico and Yanelis Silva Zamora from Cuba 2-0, winning the doubles 3-0 and Ahlquist securing the gold with a 3-0 win against Silva Zamora.

“I’m so pleased to have won gold with Anna-carin,” said Bouron. “We had some great doubles matches which helped us to take first place. I’ve gained a lot of experience playing with Anna-carin; she was incredibly supportive, encouraging me to play my shots in the doubles. She’s always positive and is a very steady player. She knows how to get the ball on the table with variation and she was an amazing team partner.

“I’ve had some really positive matches out here so I’m hoping to take this forward into next year.”

Bland and Henry lost their first match in men’s class 6-8 to Jose Vargas Pirajan and Diego Henao Quintero from Colombia 2-0 but progressed from their group after beating the second Costa Rica team of Gerardo Moncada and Andres Mendez Ramirez 2-0, Bland beating Mendez Ramirez 3-0 after combining with Henry to win the doubles. They lost their semi-final to the Slovakian/Japanese partnership of former World champion Richard Csejtey and Arufuahirokazu Tateishi 2-0.

“I’m happy to have won another medal,” said Bland, “although obviously disappointed that we couldn’t go further in the competition but frankly we were beaten by the better team.”

“It’s been a tough competition for me,” said Henry, “having some close matches against good players but I’m happy to win a bronze medal with Alex and we both played well.”

Stockdale and Thakker were also beaten 2-0 in their first match by the Japanese team of Nariaki Kakita and Hayuma Abe but secured their place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win against the second Costa Rica team of Ramon Castillo, Sebastian Fernandez Ramirez and Jose Vargas Torres. They were beaten 2-0 in the semi-final by the Spaniard former World and European champion Jose Ruiz Reyes and the PanAmerican champion from Brazil Carlos Carbinatti Junior.

“This has been another good experience in different condition to those I’m used to,” said Stockdale. “It wasn’t the result I wanted in the singles event but I had chances against the top seeds. Another learning curve for me and very happy to get a medal in the team event.”

“I’m pleased to win a medal in the team event with Jack,” said Thakker. “We started slowly but I’m happy that we were able to pick up our performances to get the bronze.”

In men’s class 1-5 Dan Bullen combined with self-funded British player Simon Heaps, a former England international and European cadet champion (1970) who lost a leg to diabetes earlier this year. The pair beat the Mexican team of Victor Reyes Turcio and Francisco Gonzalez Hernandez 2-0 but went out after 2-0 losses to Luis Bustamante Flores and Maximilliano Rodriguez Avila from Chile and the Japanese team of Shinichi Yoshida and Kentaro Doi.

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