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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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)
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.