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Sensational Omar Hayward seals Parapan Am Games semi-final spot

Flawless form: Omar Hayward fought back to beat world No 5 Jose Carlos De Oliveria to maintain his perfect run of form in pool A of the men’s boccia competition (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Omar Hayward booked his place in the Parapan Am Games boccia semi-finals, maintaining his perfect record with a thrilling final pool A victory over world No 5 Jose Carlos De Oliveria.

The Bermudian went into Monday’s encounter with his progression all but confirmed after sealing back-to-back victories on the opening day of competition on Sunday, with a 7-2 victory over local player German Omar Nahuel followed by a 5-3 success against Venezuela’s Jose Gregorio Hererra.

Yet far from resting on his laurels, Hayward cemented his place at the top of the group in scintillating style after staging a sensational fightback against the highly ranked Brazilian.

At the end of three ends, De Oliveria looked odds-on to triumph, holding a 6-1 advantage with just one end to play.

However, back came Hayward when it mattered most, scoring five unanswered points to force a tie-break, which he won 2-0 to prevail in one of the standout performances of his career.

Hayward will now meet Canadian Lance Cryderman in the final four today, with his opponent qualifying as the runner-up in pool B on the back of mixed form after edging Peru’s Neil Nunez 8-5 before going down to a heavy 7-0 defeat by Mexico’s Eduardo Reyes.

“Omar managed to force the tie break and then went on to win, which was a huge upset against the world No 5,” said Troy Farnsworth, the national boccia coach.

“Going into the final end five points down he knew to stand any chance he had to get five points.

“He threw the jack way up in the corner and after his opponent somewhat blocked himself, Omar managed to find a channel and put his five balls right where he needed to in order to force the tie-break.

“It then came down to the very last shot, which Omar managed to find a small gap to win the match. It was a phenomenal effort from him to beat such a quality player who has been high up in the world rankings for many years.

“It has been an excellent start to the Games for Omar to top his pool with three wins from three,”

Meanwhile compatriot Yushae DeSilva-Andrade will be aiming to join Hayward in the finals when she returns to action in pool A of the women’s competition against Ecuador’s Joselyn Michael Piedra today.

The 30-year-old enjoyed the ideal start to her campaign with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Argentina’s Ailen Del Pilar Flores in her opening match on Sunday.

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Published November 21, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated November 21, 2023 at 7:59 am)

Sensational Omar Hayward seals Parapan Am Games semi-final spot

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