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 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.”