Boccia star Smith preparing for rising Asian challenge after Rio 2016 Paralympic gold

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Via Inside the Games

Britain’s Paralympic champion boccia star David Smith is expecting to face greater competition from Asian rivals as the standard of the sport rises in the build-up to Tokyo 2020.

Smith, a four-time medallist who claimed team gold at Beijing 2008 before individual silver and team bronze on home turf at London 2012, shocked world champion and number one ranked Pattaya Tadtong of Thailand at the quarter-final stage in Rio.

He then defeated Dutch opponent Daniel Perez in the final.

But the 27-year-old realised that greater success brings greater expectations.

“Medals mean funding, that’s quite a lot of pressure,” he said in an interview published on the International Paralympic Committee website.

“The main thing she tells me is to focus on myself, not worry about anything else, try not to let the pressure, and the fact that I’m normally a breadwinner, not let that get to me.

“And now the sport is getting more and more difficult.”

South Korea and Thailand have led huge improvement in the sport from across Asia in recent years.

“They’ve taken it on another level, across all the categories,” Smith added.

“The level is going up, the standard going up.”

After a “well-earned rest” since his Brazilian exploits in September, the Briton is now in training for the 2017 season.

His biggest challenge is expected to be the Boccia International Sports Federation European Championships in Povoa, Portugal.

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BISFed President claims 2016 was most successful year in history of boccia

Via Inside the Games

Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) President David Hadfield has claimed that 2016 was the “most successful year yet” in the history of the sport.

Hadfield made the assertion during his New Year’s message to BISFed members, where he looked back on the governing body’s achievements over the past 12 months.

He said that boccia is the “fastest growing” Paralympic sport, while reflecting that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games “produced the most competitive boccia event yet, with an ever higher level of skill on display to record spectator numbers”.

The governing body’s “Making Boccia Accessible” scheme, which is supported by the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, UK Sport, GB Boccia and law firm Hogan Lovells, was also reflected upon.

It is claimed the programme, which aims to train “ambassadors” in the sport across the world, has helped to introduce boccia to 23 countries which did not have an active presence.

A total of 10,000 people are believed to have participated in the sport as a result of the scheme, with Hadfield stating that BISFed are seeking additional funding to deliver the next stage of the project.

Bahrain, Costa Rica and India were all welcomed to the fold during 2016, taking the number of total member countries to 57.

The number of world ranking events was quadrupled during the 2013 to 2016 quadrennial, while BISFed developed a software system to help support operations and manage competitions effectively.

The competition management system will be used for the first time this year, with the governing body describing it as “world class”.

Updated rules and new tests for boccia balls are set to be completed before this year’s competition schedule begins, while a coaching pathway is expected to be published later in 2017.

Hadfield also encouraged members to consider candidates for elections to the BISFed Board, with several existing members required to step down when their terms come to an end at the governing body’s General Assembly.

The Assembly will take place in Hong Kong on May 27, following the conclusion of the Asia and Oceania Regional Championships.

Paralympian David smith awarded MBE

David Smith

Via Eastleigh News

Eastleigh-born Rio Paralympic gold medallist David Smith has been awarded an MBE for services to Boccia in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

David won a gold medal in the BC1 mixed individual Boccia event at the Rio Paralympics, beating the Dutchman Daniel Perez 5-0 to claim the title. His gold in Rio adds to the gold he won in Beijing and the silver and bronze he won in London.

World ranking system update

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The BISFed Competition Committee presented their proposal for the 2017-2020 Competition System at the BISFed Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in March 2016, and the new Competition System was approved and published in July 2016 . In the feedback session at the EGM, it was agreed that a reliable World Ranking system was a key component of an effective competition system. The Committee explained that developing a World Ranking system which would support the new Competition System would be our next priority.
The Competition Committee is now working on a project to update and revise the world ranking system. Most of this work has focused on the key principles that should be underpin an effective ranking system (for example awarding equal points for 1st place at the same type of event held in different regions) and aligning those principles to the proposed events for the 2017-2020 cycle.
With support from UK Sport, BISFed is currently working with a team of mathematical and statistical experts who have expertise in developing ranking systems.
Our aim is to develop a new World Ranking system which will be used in BISFed competitions. The BISFed Board is monitoring the project closely and will provide an update before 31st December 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact Dom Tremblay, Chair of the BISFed Competitions Committee at operations@bisfed.com

Via BISFED

BISFED provisional schedule for 2017 events

The BISFed Competition Committee would like to announce the provisional calendar of events for 2017. These events are confirmed subject to contracts so some information may change.

  • BISFed 2017 European Regional Open, Saint Cugat – 13-20 April 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Asian Regional Open, Dubai – 14-21 April 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Americas Regional Open, Montreal – 27-30 April 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Asian Regional Championships, Hong Kong – 21-29 May 2017
  • BISFed 2017 European Regional Championships, Povoa – 17-24 June 2017
  • BISFed 2017 European Regional Open, Poznan – 5-10 July 2017
  • BISFed 2017 European World Open, Seville – 31 July – 7 August 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Americas Regional Championships, Cali – 14-21 August 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Americas World Open, Kansas – 22-29 September 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Asian World Open, Bangkok – 2-11 October 2017
  • BISFed 2017 Americas Regional Open, Mar del Plata – to be confirmed (Nov/Dec 2017)

Via BISFED

 

BISFED Boccia competition rules update

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The rules committee has been working long and hard sifting through the proposals and responses from our members. We specifically considered FAIRNESS and EQUALITY when making these decisions.

After many hours and much debating we have our first draft of the 12th edition ready to present to you. These rule changes were proposed and accepted from survey results. In page 3 of the Rule book you will notice that we ask for your observances throughout 2017.

The rules are set for 2017.  We are accepting comments regarding structure, wording and grammar until Dec 9, 2016. After which, we will have them checked by a law firm. We plan to publish the final version in early January.

  • We listened to the athletes. We agree, ramp restrictions make pointer length and seat height restrictions unnecessary.
  • We have added more clarity by having better definitions and arranging the rules in chronological order.
  • Again, we heard what the athletes are asking. More freedom for BC3 in the throwing boxes – many of the athletes asked for this to equalize sighting capabilities and to be on par with the other divisions that already have freedom in the throwing boxes.
  • Penalty balls – athletes expressed concern that often throwing a penalty ball put them at risk of losing points they just earned, because all the balls are so close together around the Jack, especially when playing at the International level. A clear shot to earn the penalty point would be more fair. We have a unique and elegant sport. Spectators understand penalties where the playing field is cleared and the athlete gets a free shot at the target. This benefits the athletes, makes things clearer to the spectators and as a bonus helps the referee. There are some athletes who have already been working on this shot. Reports that have come in, show that success has increased dramatically in just 2 weeks of practicing this shot.
  • We listened to the coaches. They asked for more opportunities to coach the Team and Pairs athletes. Now they are permitted to come and speak to them between every end.

With all of us working together Boccia becomes better and better.

Download draft rules

Download key rule changes

Via BISFED

Nigel Murray MBE and Jacob Thomas retire from Boccia

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Nigel Murray of Great Britain plays a shot during the Mixed Boccia Individual - BC4 quarter finals on day 8 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at ExCel on September 6, 2012 in London, England. Nigel Murray lost to Kai Zhong of China. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Nigel Murray MBE and Jacob Thomas have both retired from international boccia after glittering careers.

Nigel’s introduction to boccia came when he attended a disability sports taster day through his former work supporting adults with physical impairments at a social services day centre.

Early sporting success came in 1999 when he won national and British individual titles. He made his Paralympic debut one year later in Sydney where he won gold in the individual BC2 event.

He narrowly missed out on a podium place at Athens 2004, but at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games Nigel won silver in the individual BC2 event and gold in the BC1/BC2 team event, where he played alongside Dan Bentley, David Smith and Zoe Robinson.

At London 2012, the BC1/BC2 team faced tough competition to defend their Paralympic title but succeeded in winning bronze. Nigel also placed 7th in the individual BC2.

To date, Nigel has been named British Champion 10 times and crowned National Champion on 13 occasions.

In the 2013 New Year’s Honours, Nigel was awarded a MBE for services to boccia. This recognised not only his performances but his role as an ambassador for the sport both across the UK and in his local community. He has been supported throughout his journey by his partner Sylvia Taylor who has been a rock for him every step of the way.

Performance Director Matt Hammond said “Nigel’s record speaks for itself and he will be a great loss to the Programme. As well as his individual achievements he has been a tremendous team player and has been instrumental in bringing through new talent, taking them under his wing and watching them flourish. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Jacob, the current British BC3 Champion, has announced his retirement from International Boccia after first coming to prominence back in 2009 when he switched classifications from BC4 to BC3.

Jacob began 2016 as the BISFed World Number One, and finished it by brilliantly regaining the British title that he first won back in 2010.

The positive impact that he, in partnership with his father and Performance Assistant Mike, has had on the BC3 classification and the wider sport in the UK is immeasurable.

His career has been fantastic and was full of drive, ambition and high attainment. Jacob has made seven consecutive British Championship BC3 finals (with four wins) from 2010 to 2016; he has had wins on the international stage and medals at European, World and World Open levels. He became a Paralympian at the London Games in 2012 but the highlight may have been the 2014 World Championships in Beijing where he achieved a silver medal as part of the British Pair and a bronze medal in the Individual event. Winning the European Cup in Barcelona in 2015 was also a career high.

BC3 Coach Glynn Tromans, who has worked closely with Jacob since 2009 said “Jacob will be proud of his achievements, the friendships he made around the world and for the positive impact he has had on his team mates. Jacob will be remembered for all the influential things he did as part of the GB squad, for years of hard work, dedication, progress and success. We all wish him and Mike a very happy retirement.”

Via GB Boccia

Five things we learnt from Rio 2016

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Via the International Paralympic Committee

At Rio 2016 boccia featured many familiar faces from London 2012 but the results were different. Here is what we learned from the sport after Rio 2016:

1. Yuk Wing Leung is back on top

After failing to reach the podium at the London 2012 Paralympics, Hong Kong’s Yuk Wing Leung avenged himself by winning the mixed individual BC4 title. He won the 2014 World Championship and surged to the No. 1 ranked spot. However, he did not reach the 2016 World finals, showing the stiff competition in the category.

But at Rio 2016, Leung faced many close matches to pull through to the finals. He faced Slovakia’s Samuel Andrejcik in an exciting gold medal match, where Leung triumphed 4-3. Leung scored twice in the final end to secure his first medal since Beijing 2008 and individual gold since Athens 2004.

2. Thailand powerhouse

Thailand claimed five medals (two golds), winning every medal event they competed in including the individual BC2 match which was an all-Thai showdown. Compatriots Worawut Saengampa and Watcharaphon Vongsa dueled for the gold, and it was Saengampa who defeated the defending world champion 5-4. The pair joined forces in the mixed team BC1-2 gold medal match and beat Japan for the title.

Pornchok Larpyen surrendered only one point to South Korea’s Hyeonseok Seo to capture the individual BC4 bronze medal match. Larpyen was also key in the mixed pair BC4 bronze medal comeback success over Great Britain.

Four years ago at London 2012, Thailand took home two gold medals.

3. New pairs BC4 leaders

Brazil’s Eliseu Dos Santos and Jose Dirceu Pinto have dominated the pairs BC4 category since teaming up in 2007. They took gold at both London 2012 and Beijing 2008, and were the heavy favourites to complete a hat-trick at their home Games.

However, the Slovakian team of Andrejcik, Robert Durkovic and Michaela Balcova, entering No. 5 ranked in the world, upset the Brazilian crowd. The reigning European champions, scored in each of the last two ends, whereas Brazil failed to secure points. This could spell the beginning for Slovakia and the end of the Brazilian’s reign.

4. South Korea has a wealth of talent

South Korean athletes competed in six medal events claiming two medals highlighting the continuing development of the sport in the country. Their biggest victory and lone gold came from Ho Won Jeong in the individual BC3, where he dominated Greece’s Grigorious Polychronidis 8-1. It was Jeong’s first individual gold after three Paralympic Games appearances.

South Korea’s other medal came from Games debutant Won Jong Yoo, who took bronze in the BC1.

5. David Smith dominates the BC1

After taking silver at his home Games, Great Britain’s David Smith bounced back to reclaim gold in the individual BC1. He had pretty much dominated every opponent he faced, with the exception of Thailand’s No. 1 ranked Pattaya Tadtong – the very player whom Smith lost the gold to at London 2012. At Rio 2016, the two met in the quarter finals that went into a tiebreak. After getting past Tadtong, Smith cruised in his finals with a 5-0 victory over the Netherlands’ Daniel Perez.

Eastleigh’s David Smith hopes to boost Boccia’s profile after winning Paralympic gold

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Via the Southern Daily Echo

DAVID Smith his hoping to boost Boccia’s profile after winning an individual gold medal at the Paralympics.

The 27 year-old won the 51st of GB’s 64 gold medals – while sporting a blue mohawk.

He received a letter of congratulation from the Mayor of Eastleigh after scooping individual gold in the Boccia BC1 class.

David, who was born, raised and educated in Eastleigh and is now at University in Swansea, built on his team gold in Beijing and silver in London with GB’s first Boccia medal in Rio.

After dominating the final, winning 5-0 against Holland’s Daniel Perez, he said: “I had lots of chances and didn’t take as many as I would have wanted.

“It could have been a hatful but it wasn’t.

“At least I won the game and proved I can beat anyone in the world.”

Smith’s gold was one of 11 won by GB on the Rio Paralympics’ penultimate day.

He has since discussed his desire to boost Boccia’s profile with Sports Secretary Tracey Crouch.

“Hope she can help me push Boccia!,” he tweeted.

Crouch replied: “Don’t worry Smithy, I was there when you got your #gold and already convinced about what we need to do!!!!”

Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Des Scott, has written a letter of congratulation to David, who is already a Freeman of the Borough, for his sporting achievement.

The Mayor said: “We were all cheering David and the team on in Rio.

“To win another Paralympic gold and is a tremendous achievement and I congratulate David on his superb gold medal victory.”

 

Paralympics: No medals, but Boccia players Nurul and Toh surpass expectations

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Via Straitstimes.com

SINGAPORE – A handful of fans were at Changi Airport to welcome Boccia players Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha and Toh Sze Ning back home from the Rio Paralympic Games on Tuesday (Sept 20) afternoon.

The duo might have returned home empty-handed from Rio, but the crowd support they had received in Brazil left the biggest impression on them.

Their eyes lit up with excitement when they recalled how they were cheered on by boisterous crowds who did Mexican waves at the Carioca Arena, the Boccia competition venue.

Nurul, who also took part in the 2012 London Paralympics, said: “I felt like I was at the (football) World Cup. The spectators were so loud and expressive when they cheered. I’ve never experienced that kind of atmosphere before.”

Toh, 23, who was making her Paralympics debut, said: “It felt like a soccer match. The crowd made it very exciting.”

The pair were greeted at the arrival hall by their family members and sports officials, including Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin.

Nurul and Toh earned the Republic’s best result in the sport at the Paralympics when they made it to the BC3 mixed-pairs bronze medal playoffs, following upsets over higher-ranked opponents Portugal and Greece.

But they eventually lost 1-8 to Greece to narrowly miss out on winning Singapore’s first Paralympic medal in the sport.

The team’s coach Tess Tan noted: “Greece were really on form on that day. They brought their A+ game and we didn’t bring our A game. But overall, we are quite satisfied with our results as we met the goal which we had set out to achieve.”

Nurul, 31, said: “We are sad, of course, but we have surpassed people’s expectations. We also felt surprised and a bit overwhelmed when we beat the higher-ranked teams, which sent a message to other teams that we can win if we put in 100 per cent of our efforts.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved and we have no regrets knowing that we are now the fourth best team in the world.”

Toh said: “I felt disappointed because we came so close yet so far (to winning a medal). But I am glad that we finished in the top four.”

It appears that missing out on a medal has made them even hungrier to go one step further at the Games’ next edition.

Even though Nurul will return back to her job as an auditor after taking a two-year, no-pay leave to prepare for Rio, she is already eyeing a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

She joked: “So this means that I cannot retire yet right? The work is not finished yet. I will be back for Tokyo. For me, I’ve always planned in blocks of four years before the next cycle continues. We need to plan now for the next four years.

“This Paralympics is not the end. We are now ranked fourth and it is another step in our progress.”