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.”
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 GB Boccia
The squad won six medals from seven events with David Smith taking BC1 Gold the highlight.
BC1/BC2 Team (David Smith, Nigel Murray, Josh Rowe)
The Team won one and lost one in their pool to qualify for the semi-finals where a 14-2 victory over Brazil saw them take on Japan in the final. The match finished 7-7 but Japan presided on the tie-break to take Gold.
BC3 Pair (Jacob Thomas, Patrick Wilson, Jamie McCowan)
The Pair won all three of their pool games, scoring 32 points and only conceding one. They beat Belgium 10-1 in the quarters but went down 4-1 to eventual winners Russia. They got back on track with a 10-1 win over Sweden to take Bronze
BC4 Pair (Stephen McGuire, Kieran Steer, Evie Edwards)
The Pair were drawn in a tough pool and lost to Slovakia and Germany with a solitary win against Russia. Brazil beat Canada in the final.
David Smith – Gold
Smith went through the competition unbeaten sailing through the pool and knock out games, beating Daniel Perez of the Netherlands to take Gold
Nigel Murray – Bronze
Josh Rowe – 4th
Claire Taggart – 16th
All GB athletes made it out of their pools. Claire Taggart came up against World Cup 2010 winner Abilio Valente of Portugal in the last sixteen and lost 11-1. Rowe and Murray both made it as far as the semi finals but both were knocked out, Rowe by World no 2 Maciel Santos of Brazil and Murray by Bernd Meints of the Netherlands. It was therefore an all GB scrap forBronze with Murray prevailing 7-1.
Patrick Wilson – Bronze
Jamie McCowan – 9th
Jacob Thomas – 15th
McCowan and Thomas both bowed out at the last 16 stage while Wilson, having won all of his pool games was halted at the semi final stage by Canada’s Eric Bussiere. He bounced back to take Bronze with a 4-0 win over Brazil’s Evelyn Oliviera who had previously beaten Thomas.
Stephen McGuire – Bronze
Kieran Steer – 14th
Evie Edwards – 16th
World Champion McGuire followed a similar trajectory to Wilson with Pedro Clara of Portugal his conqueror in the semi final. Like Wilson he regrouped to defaet multiple Paralympic medalist Eliseu dos Santos in the Bronze match. Steer and Edwards both went out in the last 16, Edwards beaten by McGuire.
Via GB Bocci
Via GB Boccia
Jamie McCowan beat Patrick Wilson in a tight match in the semi final of the individual BC3 competition having already overcome him in the pool stage. McCowan ended up with silver after a 6-2 loss to Korea’s Howon Jeong in the final. Wilson took bronze after a 5-2 win over Russia’s Aleksandr Legostaev.
The individual competition had followed a strong BC3 Pairs run for the British duo which ended with a bronze medal. McCowan and Wilson met the Korean pair in the semi and lost 4-1 but beat Russia by the same score to take home a medal.
Will Hipwell in the individual BC2 and Jamie Docherty in the individual BC4 were the other GB players at the event but neither made it out of their pool.
The Great Britain squad for the 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships, taking place on the 25th and 26th of July at Surrey Sports Park, has been announced.
Part of the UK Sport Road to Rio series, the Championships see the top eight sides in Europe in each classification travel to Guildford. The winners of the BC1/BC2 Team, BC3 Pairs and BC4 Pairs events will all win a direct qualification slot for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Great Britain squad is:
BC1 David Smith (Eastleigh, Hampshire, living in Swansea)
BC2 Nigel Murray MBE (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire)
BC2 Joshua Rowe (Perth, Scotland)
BC2 Claire Taggart (County Antrim, Northern Ireland)
BC3 Jacob Thomas (Pembrokeshire, Wales)
BC3 Scott McCowan (South Ayrshire, Scotland)
BC3 Patrick Wilson (Edinburgh)
BC4 Stephen McGuire (Hamilton)
BC4 Kieran Steer (Fife)
BC4 Evie Edwards (Elmsett, Suffolk)
A YOUNG woman from Goodwick has become the latest player to watch out for on the boccia circuit.Thirty year-old Sian Jones joined the Welsh squad for a Welsh boocia open event held at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff lastweekend.Eighteen players from Wales and Ireland went head to head in a mixed class competition.Sian, who competes in the Paralympic BC2 classification, played in five close games finishing 12th overall.Angela Miles, disability sport development officer for Sport Pembrokeshire, said Sian was a player to look out for in the future.