DeSilva-Andrade treasures ‘awesome’ bronze
Para-athlete Yushae DeSilva-Andrade is treasuring her bronze medal at last weekend's ISFed Regional Open Championships in Montreal, the first for a Bermudian at an international boccia tournament.
DeSilva-Andrade overcame a recent injury and then had to battle a strong field to reach the semi-final in the BC2 class. DeSilva-Andrade, who represented Bermuda at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro last summer, beat Matt Hiltner of the United States 3-2 to reach the semi-finals before losing 4-3 to Canada's Tammy McLeod. The 23-year-old then beat another Canadian, Michael Mercer, in the match to decide the bronze medallist. DeSilva-Andrade won the tiebreak after the game ended 4-4.
“The level of competition was really tough because it was a lot of the top players, but getting the medal was really awesome,” she said yesterday. “I was surprised at first that I did it because I'm just coming back from an injury. I'm very proud of myself.
“My score in the semi-finals was 4-3, so I was close to getting the silver. I just missed out by one point.”
In boccia the men and women play each other, with DeSilva-Andrade beating one of the male competitors to reach the last four and then another to claim the bronze. “It's a good thing because you get to show everyone what you're capable of,” she said. “There were 30 athletes altogether but only seven in my division.
“It turned out that I was actually the top seed in the competition so I knew coming in that everyone was coming after me. It was a little bit of extra pressure but I put it to the back of my head because I wanted to do as well as I could.”
Also turning in good performances in Montreal were team-mates Omar Hayward and Steve Wilson who also advanced to the semi-finals for the first time, just missing out on bronze medals. Hayward finished fourth in the BC1 class while Wilson was fourth in the BC4 class.
Hayward lost 6-2 to Eduardo Sanchez of Mexico in his semi-final before going down 5-1 to Canadian Eric Lefebvre in the game to determine third place.
Wilson was beaten 5-1 by former world No 1, Marco Dispaltro of Canada in the semi-final before facing Alison Levine, also of Canada, for the second time in the tournament for the bronze medal, this time losing 6-1.
DeSilva-Andrade, who has been competing in boccia for about five years, will be attending two World Open tournaments this summer, in Colombia in August and then in Kansas in September.