Northern Ireland's Claire Taggart ‘in shock’ after winning gold at World Boccia Championships in Rio de Janeiro
The Larne woman defeated Rebecca Duarte of El Salvador 7-1 in the BC2 women’s final.
Taggart was in excellent form for Britain and the result was never in serious doubt as the 27-year-old earned a point in the first end on her own jack.
Taggart delivered a tactical masterclass on her way to becoming world champion, even resetting Duarte’s jack to the centre.
Duarte was able to claw back a point to start the fourth end 5-1, but a superb final shot from Taggart pushed the jack to score a further two points.
Taggart said: “I’m in shock and delighted to have won. I’m a little bit tired but I’m buzzing to go again in the team with David (Smith) and Will (Hipwell). Thanks everyone for sending so much support. I guess this is for Northern Ireland.”
Meanwhile, three-time Paralympic gold medallist David Smith (Eastleigh/Swansea) won the BC1 silver medal after the formidable opponent of Witsanu Huadpradit of Thailand won 5-0 to secure gold.
“I’m a little bit deflated but I’m satisfied with how I played,” said Smith.
“It was a bit frustrating that I had a few hits that didn’t do anything. Congratulations to Huadpradit – he’s always been a big rival of mine so I don’t mind losing to him as such.
"I had a chance and unfortunately the floor didn’t let me take it and that’s just how it goes.”
It is the first time that two players from Britain have featured in the individual finals of the World Boccia Championships since 2010.
Performance Director Greg Baker says the outstanding results are testament to the dedication and hard work of the players.
“I am incredibly proud of how the team have performed out here in Rio,” he said.
"Two fantastic medals and a great platform for us to build from as we get closer to Paris 2024.
"Claire has been very consistent at this competition and has shown her world class level throughout. David will be disappointed to not win another world title, but he won a great silver medal and knowing him he will build and progress over the next 18 months to be as strong as he can be for Paris.
“The rest of the team have also had some great wins, beating top 10 ranked players and progressing into last 16 and quarter-final matches.
"They should be proud of their achievements and I know all of them want to improve and maximise their potential to be amongst semi-finals and onwards in future competitions. This is now our mission to do just that as a collective athlete and staff team,” he added.
“I want to say a big thank you to the coaches, support staff, ramp assistants and assistants who – as always – have worked incredibly hard and all play such a significant part in any results we achieve when we are away at competition.”
The squad is back in action in the Team and Pairs competitions with Taggart and Smith both featuring in the BC1/2 Team alongside Cambridge Paralympian Will Hipwell.