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Boccia player Kwok wins first gold for Chinese Hong Kong
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21:28, September 09, 2008

Kwok Hoi-ying steered past veteran Nigel Murray of Britain 5-3 in the Mixed Individual BC2 to win the first gold medal for Chinese Hong Kong at the Beijing Paralympic Games on Tuesday.

The world top ranked Kwok lost three points in the opening set but managed to fight back with precise throws and took a 4-3 lead in the third set.

The 22-year-old looked in great form in the final set by expanding the advantage to seal the victory against the Sydney Paralympics champion Murray 5-3.

"I performed very well except the first end, but I could see the gold after I threw my first ball in the final set," Kwok said.

"It's my first trip to Beijing. After all the competitions I want to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. I will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Beijing and it's quite special."

Murray, 44, created a piece of history by winning Britain's first individual boccia medal at the Paralympics. He is one of the most experienced members of the British boccia team.

"Right now I'm sort of disappointed. I had a best possible start and let the gold slip away basically," he said.

"Kwok is a good player and she played very well today. I set high standards for myself and didn't play to those standards."

Kwok is coached by her father Kwok Hart-wing, an accountant in a shipping company in Hong Kong.

She was enrolled in the Hong Kong team eight years ago, and her father did some volunteering work in the team and eventually became a team coach.

"Kwok trained three evenings every week and each training lasted two hours," he said.

"In the training, I am more like a coach rather her father. She is a boccia talent and she can control her body better since she practiced boccia."

"Yes, my father is a very strict coach," Kwok said with a big smile.

"I hope my gold medal can encourage more disabled people in Hong Kong to do sports and go out of their homes to have social lives," she added.


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