Montreal natives Alison Levine and Iulian Ciobanu both failed to qualify for the quarter-finals after the group play stage in the boccia mixed BC4 individual event at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
It’s a disappointing result for the Quebec duo, particularly Levine, as she entered the tournament as the No. 1-ranked player in the world.
The 31-year-old won her first match of the tournament, 4-3 against number 73-ranked Martin Streharsky of Slovakia. There were signs in that game that she may not have been executing at the top of her craft as Strehasky scored three points in the third end to tie the game, with Levine just pulling ahead by one in the fourth.
Levine closed out the tournament with a 3-2 loss to No. 14-ranked Wai Yan Vivian Lau, of Hong Kong, and an 8-2 defeat at the hands of No. 12-ranked Croatian Davor Komar to ultimately finish third in Group A.
Top finisher in each of six groups, and the next two best records, moved along.
The two-time Paralympian did not mince words describing her performance.
“Again, today I didn’t play at my level and paid the price,” said Levine after her last match of group play. “I’m disappointed in my results and with myself. Now it’s time to refocus for pairs play where I’m looking forward to playing with my teammates again.”
Over in mixed Group D, Levine’s pairs teammate Ciobanu fared better but came up just short of qualifying for the quarters, finishing second in the group.
The 38-year-old beat Portugal’s No. 35-ranked Carla Oliveira in the opener in dramatic fashion via tiebreak, followed it up with a 6-4 win over number 9-ranked Ximei Lin of China.
Ultimately he fell to undefeated Yuansen Zheng of China, the No. 4-ranked player in the world, who, with Levine’s exit, enters Tuesday’s quarter-finals as the highest-ranked player remaining in the competition.
It’s a step back for Levine, who finished fifth at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio in the individual event, although she will get a chance to improve upon her sixth-place finish in Rio in the mixed BC4 pairs event, in which fellow Montreal native Marco Dispaltro will join Levine and Ciobanu.
With Bois-des-Filion’s Danik Allard also not qualifying for the quarter-finals in the boccia mixed BC2 individual event, the mixed pairs event will be Canada’s last in the sport in Tokyo this year. The Canadian team begins group play against Portugal on Wednesday.