Hong Kong’s Ho Yuen Kei could break the male dominance of boccia at the 2018 World Championships, which are underway in Liverpool, Great Britain.
The 24-year-old is the highest ranked female across all four classes, and do not count the world’s No. 4 BC3 player out of podium contention. She won both her matches on day one (12 August) in Liverpool and intends to keep up with boccia’s finest
“All the elite athletes from the world will perform their best and chase for the title of world champion,” the Pool C top seed said. “Personally, I expect to deliver my best performance in every match.”
Ho finished fifth at her Paralympic debut in 2016, and she has consistently medalled ever since.
“I was satisfied with my final results of ranking fifth at Rio,” she said. “At the same time, I understand I still have a lot of things to learn for getting a better result in future events.”
She fell short in the finals of the 2017 Asia-Oceania Regional Championships, losing to South Korea’s Hansoo Kim in the last ball. Wins this year at the World Open in Montreal, Canada; and Regional Open in Ise, Japan, where important for more than improving her ranking.
“I think it was a good start and the results increase my confidence in preparing for the Liverpool World Championships,” Ho said.
A dream come true
She picked up the sport in 2011, went on to make her major international appearance at the 2014 Worlds in Beijing, China, before landing her spot at the 2016 Games.
“Rio 2016 Paralympics was my target and I had a dream to represent Hong Kong in these Games, and I made my dream come true,” she said. “I believe the Paralympics Games should be a goal for every athlete. I felt like finally I did it and my dream came true.”
A strong finish in Liverpool would set secure her qualification points for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, which is her long-term goal.
To do so, Ho has worked with her assistant Jet Lee and remains disciplined about her trainings. She knows she needs to if she has to face Greece’s Greg Polychronidis and Great Britain’s Jamie McCowan – both also fighting for medals.
“Practice makes perfect,” Ho said. “There is no shortcut to success but only train hard and play calm. Calm myself and have a clear mind before playing each match.”
You can watch the boccia World Championships live on the International Paralympic Committee’s website.