Favourite Nurul succumbs to pressure

Defending Asean Para Games boccia champion Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha crashed out of the mixed individual BC3 category in the preliminary rounds yesterday at the OCBC Arena.

Singapore's world No. 8 lost 2-4 to compatriot Toh Sze Ning and by the same scoreline to Thai Somboon Chaipanich in the first two matches of Pool A.

She later defeated Malaysian Sivakangai Sivapragasam 16-0 in the final match to finish fifth out of eight competitors.

Team manager Kenneth Soh said: "Nurul could have done better but the opponents were strong as well, especially the Thais."

He stated that the added pressure of her being in the limelight at a home Games, while defending her title, proved overwhelming for her.

"The hype about her was probably too much.

"Nurul is not really accustomed to the coverage being on her."

She had also just returned from the Boccia World Open in Colombia last month, another factor which, according to Soh, could have led to her early exit. "She might not have had adequate preparation coming into the Games," he said.

The player declined comment.

In better news for Team Singapore, Toh advanced to today's individual BC3 final after beating Thailand's Ekkarat Chaemchoi 7-5 in their semi-final yesterday.

She will face another Thai, Tanimpat Visaratanunta, for the gold medal at 11am.

Nurul and Toh will team up for the mixed pair BC3 competition starting tomorrow. The duo are also the defending champions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline 'Favourite Nurul succumbs to pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe