Paralympics: McCowan brothers do battle in boccia; Gordon Reid progresses; work to do for Ben Rowlings

Comedian Adam Hills likes to label the boccia players as the rock stars of the Paralympics, in which case a pair of siblings from Ayrshire are Mick and Keith.

Scott McCowan, right, was in action at the boccia.

Boccia is a precision sport, like bowls and pétanque, for athletes with severe physical disabilities and Scots Jamie and Scott McCowan are joined in Tokyo by parents Linda and Gary their on-court assistants.

When shielding during the pandemic, the brothers prepared themselves for the crucible of Paralympic competition with a seemingly never-ending ‘Lockdown Championship’ in the front room of their family home.

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They clashed for the first time in a major tournament in the first round of their event, older brother Scott emerging a 7-1 winner before subsequent victories over Argentina’s Stefania Ferrando and Australia’s Spencer Cotie booked him a place in the quarter-finals, with dreams of a shot at a medal on Wednesday.

However, his progress means brother Jamie's individual competitions are now over, though the two will join forces in the team competitions later this week

"I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing," said Scott, 30.

"I’ve played three really solid games – literally almost as good as I can play. I just want to keep it going.

"I feel really comfortable out there – I’m in the form of my life just now. I’ve got to keep it going."

Father Gary added: "We knew when we came three games to qualify. We said at the start with Jamie in the group that probably it was highly unlikely that the two of them were going to get through. Thankfully it’s us to be fair.

"That’s all you can hope for – in the pool stage, you’re just trying to get through to the quarter-finals and then you’re in the mix. We’re absolutely delighted.”

Gordon Reid continued an impressive defence of his wheelchair tennis title but still swatted aside Japan's Takashi Sanada 6-2, 6-1, setting up a quarter-final with Netherlands’ Tom Egberink.

Reid, who lost in the final of Wimbledon earlier this summer, saw his match delayed by regulations that insist matches must be pushed back when the temperature creeps above 31 degrees.

Matches are now being played into the small hours, though a break in the conditions – humid even for Tokyo in August – are expected to break in the days ahead

“The organisers can’t change the weather. They have to go by the rules, they’re doing a good job in challenging circumstances," said Reid.

“We’ve got plenty of days to finish the event, we’re used to delays in tennis – it can happen with rain, it can happen with heat, it’s something we’re well-practiced in.

“I’m really satisfied with the match; I thought my level was high and very consistent throughout the entire match.

“He’s a very good player, tricky opponent, so to come away with a convincing scoreline and quite a quick victory, I couldn’t be much happier with the way it went.

“He’s No.9 in the world, that was a test for me. Every round you go through, you’re going to meet a better player so it is going to get tougher but so far, so good."

Stirling's Ben Rowlings admitted there was work to do after the 25-year-old wheelchair racer finished last in his T34 100m final in furnace like conditions at the Olympic Stadium.

“I’m gutted with how the race went technically, my start wasn’t where it needed to be - and you can’t be off in a race that’s over that quick,” he said.

“The class has got so strong over the last couple of years and the 100m is not my main event here, it’s all about the 800m for me.

“I wanted to get a feel for the track and experience what it is like to race without a crowd. The aim was to blow away the cobwebs and I certainly did that but no-one likes to finish eighth in a final and I’m a bit gutted on that front.

“The field here is very strong but I feel in very good shape, I just need to relax now and back myself. Physically I feel great and training has gone well, it’s just down to me know, I can’t be better prepared by the team around me.

"I know what I’m up against and I know what I’m capable of. On my day I’m one of the quickest racers in the world.”

Elsewhere, Glasgow's Andrew Mullen's bid to match his 50m backstroke silver from Rio fell short as he finished seventh in a final won by China's Zheng Tao in a world record time.

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