• Kyodo

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Japan's Hidetaka Sugimura won a Paralympic gold medal in the individual BC2 boccia tournament Wednesday at Ariake Gymnastics Center.

Sugimura, 39, is the first Japanese to reach the podium in an individual boccia event at the Paralympics.

He beat Watcharaphon Vongsa of Thailand, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games Paralympic champion in the event, 5-0 in the final. He scored two points in the first end, then added one each in the following three to complete the win.

The Shizuoka Prefecture native has cerebral palsy and started playing boccia in 2001 when a teacher at his support facility for people with disabilities suggested he try it out.

Sugimura captained the Japanese team to a silver medal in the BC1/BC2 event at the previous Paralympic Games in Brazil.

He made his national team debut at the Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China, in 2010.

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