Third time lucky as Daniel proves too Strong for rivals
Persistence paid off for sports-mad Elgin schoolboy Daniel Strong when he won a gold medal at the Grampian Disability Games.
Elgin High pupil Daniel (12), who developed stroke-like symptoms, lost his sight in one eye and had to learn how to walk again following surgery to remove a brain tumour, loves taking part in the all-inclusive sport of boccia – similar to bowls.
The youngster, whose dad Darren plays football for Buckie Thistle, lost in the final of the Games at Aberdeen's Sports Village for the past two years.
Both times he was narrowly defeated by his close friend and Milne's Disability Sports Club team-mate Holly McWilliam, from Keith.
As luck would have it, in this year's tournament he was drawn in the group stages to face Holly again, and promptly lost the first set 9-1.
But Daniel regained his composure to win the next two sets and the match, earning runners-up spot and a place in the semi-finals against a more experienced national competitor from Dundee.
"Against the odds and cheered on by his three cousins from Aberdeen, he won 5-3 and progressed to the final," said dad Darren.
Unfortunately Holly lost her semi-final so another rematch between the Moray friends was thwarted and instead Daniel took on a much older competitor, Cameron Millar from Tayside.
He claimed the first two legs 1-0 each time, then lost the next two by the same margin forcing the contest into a sudden death leg.
"With his first shot Daniel threw his ball hard against the jack.
"His opponent was unable to get closer than Daniel using all six of his balls meaning he had won by one shot.
"It was an incredibly long day, but Daniel was absolutely delighted with his 'third time lucky' win," Darren added.