[Written by Stephen Wright]
Yushae DeSilva-Andrade has set her sights on a podium finish in boccia at the Parapan Am Games in Santiago, Chile.
She starts her round-robin campaign in the women’s individual BC1 pool A division against Ailen Flores, of Argentina, today [November 19].
Meanwhile, her team-mate Omar Hayward has two round-robin matches scheduled today against German Caldéron Nahuel, of Chile, and Jose Pagua Herrera, of Venezuela, in the men’s individual BC1 pool A division.
DeSilva-Andrade and Hayward performed the flag-bearing duties for Bermuda at the opening ceremony yesterday.
“It’s a case of going out there, doing my best, and seeing what happens,” DeSilva-Andrade told Bernews.
“Winning a medal is a definite possibility if I can play my best. I’m feeling nervous but trying to relax and see how things go.”
Ranked sixth in the world in her division, DeSilva-Andrade enters the competition in fine form, having won medals in her previous three World Cup competitions.
The 30-year-old won gold at the Fortaleza World Boccia Cup in Brazil in September, silver at the World Boccia Challenger in Santiago, Chile, in June, and silver at the Montreal World Boccia Cup in May.
“It’s a similar standard to the World Cup events – everyone is pretty skilled,” said DeSilva-Andrade, competing in her third Parapan Am Games.
“It’s great to have Omar and Jessica [Lewis] here as well. We will be cheering each other on.”
A podium finish would boost DeSilva-Andrade’s hopes of reaching the Paralympic Games in Paris next summer, with the qualification deadline on December 31.