2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: Hawker Battles Hard for Team USA
BEIJING, China - Team USA's Timothy (TJ) Hawker (Holland, Ohio) faced two tough competitors as Boccia competition moved into rounds three and four on Monday.
In his first match of the day, Hawker went up against Fransisco Javier Beltran of Spain, the world's number one ranked player in the BC-1 class. Beltran achieved five points in the first end and ultimately won with a score of 9-1, but Hawker's tough defensive play allowed him to keep the Spaniard scoreless in the second end and to become the first player in the competition to score a point against Beltran.
As competition continued in the afternoon, Hawker faced Gabriella Villano from Argentina. The match was close and the officials were forced measure the minute distances between the competitors' balls frequently. Villano ultimately won the match 3-1.
"He played two great games today and this was a good competition for him overall," said USA Boccia head coach Mark McMillan. "He put in some nice blocks during his match against Beltran which made it more difficult for him to score." Both McMillan and Hawker appreciated the opportunity to participate in the 2008 Paralympic Games. "He and I are both honored to be here," said McMillan. "The level of play and competition is very high."