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.
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.
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
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.”
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.”
The Argentina Selection boccia already has four athletes who will represent us at the Paralympic Games in Rio: Mauricio Ibarbure (BC1), Sebastian Gonzalez, Luis Cristaldo and Maria Esther Sahonero (BC2). “I chose a functional team that has players who are physically well profiled in this category, with plenty of power and, above all, accurate , ” said Paul IOCCA, the national coach.
“The goal of minimum Argentina is passing the knockout stage and reach the semifinal , ” said IOCCA, who took the concentration of the national team in the Cenard to adjust details.
Boccia (4) : Mauricio Ibarguren, Sebastián González, Luis Cristaldo and Mary Esthe Sahonero.
MONTREAL, Que. – July 18, 2016 – Boccia Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are proud to announce the six boccia athletes nominated for selection to Team Canada for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this September.
Team Canada’s boccia players bring a powerful mix of youth and experience. Four of the six will be competing in Rio in their first Paralympic Games, while veterans Marco Dispaltro and Paul Gauthier bring Paralympic Games experience to the team. Dispaltro won bronze at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, while Rio will mark the sixth Paralympic Games for Gauthier, who won gold in 2004 and two bronze in 2000.
“Canada has won medals in boccia at the last four Paralympic Games, so it’s a tradition we hope continues in Rio,” said Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. “There are some excellent leaders and accomplished athletes in this sport who have been able to deliver consistent success across their program.”
The Canadian team represents some of boccia’s finest international athletes, with half of the players ranked in the top-20 in the world. With two silver medals last month (Dispaltro and Levine in pairs, Eric Bussiere in singles) at the final pre-Paralympic World Open in Povoa de Varzim, Portugal, the team is primed for a strong performance in Rio.
The emergence of budding stars Iulian Ciobanu, Alison Levine, Eric Bussiere and Marylou Martineau is a testament to the growth of this sport.
“All six athletes are a pleasure to work with, they are confident and they look forward to facing the challenges of the Paralympic Games,” said head coach Mario Delisle. “The last performance for many of these athletes at the international level looked great and I can feel everyone’s excitement. Some important fine tuning work is ahead in July and August, ensuring our team will be a force to reckon with in September.”
The team includes athletes in the BC4 classification, for athletes who are able to throw, and athletes in the BC3 classification who play using a ramp. In both classifications, Canada will compete in the individual and pairs divisions.
“Congratulations to the Boccia Canada athletes nominated to join Team Canada for the upcoming Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” said the Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “Canada has a proud tradition of being a fierce competitor in boccia and I know our athletes are eager to continue to write that story this summer in Brazil. All of Canada is behind you.”
Boccia is a precision ball game, similar to bocce and lawn bowls. It is a simple game to learn, but difficult to master. With over 50 countries participating and the level of play increasing all the time, medals in Rio will be harder to come by than ever before.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games take place September 7 to 18. Boccia team and pairs competition begins on September 11 and individual play commences on September 16.
The athletes nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team are as follows:
Eric Bussiere (Arthabaska, Que.)
Paul Gauthier (Vancouver, B.C.)*
Marylou Martineau (Québec City, Que.)
Alison Levine (Montreal, Que.)
Marco Dispaltro (Montreal, Que.)*
Iulian Ciobanu (Montreal, Que.)
*Denotes athletes with previous Paralympic Games experience
The nominated team will be supported by the following coaching staff:
Head Coach Mario Delisle (Montreal, Que.)
BC4 Coach César Nicolaï (Montreal, Que.)
Via the Daily Record
World boccia champion Stephen McGuire expects a ‘carnival’ atmosphere when the Paralympic Games start in Rio in September.
The Hamilton ace is part of a 10-strong boccia team that was announced by the British Paralympic Association (BPA), and although he has known for some time that he was heading to Rio, McGuire (32) admits the excitement is building.
“I knew three weeks before, because they need to leave room for appeals and things like that, but it has been rubber-stamped and that’s great to know,” said Stephen.
“It does increase the excitement. It has been an interesting week, as I got the news and I was straight down to London, where we heard a lot of inspirational and motivational speeches.
“We’re part of a wider team and it’s amazing. There were a lot of Scots there, including Gordon Reid who just won the wheelchair tennis at Wimbledon.
“When one person wins a medal the momentum grows and the camaraderie is amazing. There is that bond.
“When we go to play abroad as Team GB there are 10 of us, but there are over 200 athletes this time.”
Stephen anticipates some fierce competition in boccia, which runs from September 10-16 (the Paralympics runs from September 7-18), and is eager to get going.
“I’m looking forward to the atmosphere; London 2012 was pretty traditional and in my head at least Rio is going to be a carnival. I’m looking forward to the crowds, the atmosphere, and it will be great to be part of it.
“Boccia is really big over in Brazil, we’re going to be playing in a 10,000 all-seater stadium, and I’m told it will be full. I hope we get to play them, actually, because they’re really good.”
Reigning BC4 World champion and pairs BC4 European Pairs champion McGuire is confident of doing well in Rio, and is pleased with what he has accomplished thus far.
He said: “I think you have to be confident when you go into something like this.
“Personally, I’ve done very well this year; I’ve won the World Championship and the Czech Open, and I took bronze from the World Open in Portugal, so there will be chances there.
“This is my second Paralympic Games, and to be honest there is no greater privilege than to represent Great Britain.
“When I started out, my dream was to get to a Paralympic Games, but this is my second, and I’ve won medals at the highest level.
“At London 2012 I was so close to a Paralympics medal, and that’s what keeps me going, so hopefully this time I can achieve it.”
Team leader Matt Hammond said: “The team is as strong as it has ever been and these athletes have been pushed throughout the qualifications period to deliver the performance needed to secure their place.”
Via the Daily Record
Via Paralympics GB
“Beijing and London were both completely different experiences, and I look forward to finding out what Rio has in store for me.”
“The standard of international competition continues to go up, but I’ve remained focused on my preparations to ensure I’m in the best possible place. I hope the country will get behind us and help supercharge the team to success.”
Matt Hammond, Team Leader for GB Boccia, said: “Today’s announcement is a proud moment for me as team leader and I’m delighted to confirm our line-up for Rio. The team is as strong as it’s ever been and these athletes have been pushed throughout the qualification period to deliver the performances needed to secure their place on the team. I’d like to congratulate the athletes and their competition partners for all of their hard work up to this point and I believe we can pose a real threat to our rivals on the court in Rio.”
Today’s announcement takes the number of selected athletes to 215 from 19 sports.
Selected athletes are:
BC1 David Smith (competition partner: Sarah Nolan)
Home town: Eastleigh
Main training base: Swansea
BC2 Nigel Murray
Home town: Leamington Spa
Main training base: Warwick St Nicholas Park Leisure Centre
BC2 Joshua Rowe
Home town: Perth
Main training base: Stirling
BC2 Claire Taggart
Main training base:
BC3 Patrick Wilson (competition partner: Kim Smith)
Home town: Edinburgh
Main training base: Edinburgh
BC3 Jamie McCowan (competition partner: Linda McCowan)
Home town: Dundonald, Ayrshire
Main training base:
BC3 Scott McCowan (competition partner: Gary McCowan)
Home town: Dundonald, Ayrshire
Main training base:
BC4 Stephen McGuire
Home town: Hamilton
Main training base: University of the West of Scotland
BC4 Kieran Steer
Home town: Crossgates, Fife
Main training base: Fife
BC4 Evie Edwards
Home town: Ipswich
Main training base: Ipswich
Via Paralympics GB
Via Inside the games
Seven Asian countries were represented at a “Making Boccia Accessible” event in Dubai.
The scheme, supported by world governing body the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed), the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, UK Sport, GB Boccia and law firm Hogan Lovells, aims to train “ambassadors” in the sport across the world.
Once trained, the ambassadors will return to their home countries to help spread the sport and encourage more people to play boccia.
It is hoped that up to 10,000 new boccia players can be introduced into the sport, with 400 boccia sets circulated as part of the project.
Andrinne Craig and Darren Thomson were selected by Scottish Disability Sport to represent BISFed in Dubai, following sessions in Africa and South America.
Representatives from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan, Mongolia and host country the United Arab Emirates were in attendance.
BISFed President David Hadfield was also present for parts of the course.
The Mongolian representatives said they had not touched a boccia ball before arriving in Dubai.
“We were looking for opportunities for children with cerebral palsy and love that boccia is so inclusive,” said a representative from Sri Lanka.
“We will create a boccia group and forum and train ambassadors from each district who can begin to deliver boccia to children in those areas.
“There are three CP special schools with 110 plus pupils and now they have a sport to play.
“We want to create happiness and the opportunity for children to play sport through boccia.”
Via Inside the games