Gold in Beijing, Gold in Rio, Gold in Tokyo. David Smith is someone who has excelled at Para-Bose over the years. It’s hard to miss out on English competitions with his blue and red Mohawk haircut. It’s like an announcement to the contest: I don’t need to hide. i know what i can do
And Smith can do a lot. Para-boccia is about placing your balls from the wheelchair closer to the white target ball than your opponent. It requires a high level of strategy, precision and coordination. “I’m very good at creating opportunities where other people don’t see them as necessary,” says the 32-year-old Briton. Due to cerebral palsy, he plays in class BC1.
When he throws, it is almost always accurate, with as few balls as possible and as many high scores. In addition to three Paralympic gold medals, his skills earned him ten gold medals at the World and European Championships; This proud record includes several silver and bronze medals. This makes David Smith the most successful player in British bokeh history.
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“I tried other sports in school, but I did my best in boxing,” Smith says side by side. Boccia has developed into an “addiction” for him. “What I love most about Boccia: There are no limits. There is always something new to discover and develop.” The sport made him a better person: “Boccia is a great way to find the best version of myself. The game is.” The UK has been playing boccia for 26 years. He was awarded a knighthood in 2016 for his achievements.
Boccia is becoming more and more popular among the general public
Smith is now a star in the UK. Media interest is great, schools invite the athlete to join them, people recognize him on the street. “It feels great, to be honest. The fact that it’s becoming more and more popular with the masses is fantastic for the sport.” But he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on himself. David Smith says, I have felt pressure many times before. But this year I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.
So he enjoyed the Paralympics in Tokyo, which was not always easy. In the final, Smith was trailing 0-2 after the first set. “To be honest, I wasn’t too nervous, I was way behind. Turning the game was no big deal,” he explains with ease. After the first sentence he thought to himself: “Either you make it too easy for your opponent, or you fight.”
In the following sets of the final, David Smith managed to repeatedly push his Malaysian rival Che Wei Lun to make mistakes. He won the final 4–2, and became the first BC1 player to defend a Paralympic title.
With his second mainstay as lifestyle coach, the financial pressure to win in Japan also ended. “I help people improve their health. We have had great results so far,” says Smith happily. The opportunity to do so arose from the pandemic when he began to reflect on his daily training routine.
There were other career options for Smith
“I was very depressed at the time and almost left Boccia. Then I started working with a lifestyle coach and changing my diet.” “I am quite fit now, with a new focus and a new mindset. I want to take it forward.”
There would have been other career options for the Briton, as he had previously studied aerospace engineering at Swansea. But he does not want to pursue this path any further. “I’ve never felt more welcome in the tech world.”
As a disabled person, he experienced discrimination, “and if that’s the case at university looking for an internship, I have no hope of a paying job”. They don’t mind turning their backs on space technology and earning more money by helping people. David Smith says: “I see myself as a person who is worth something and wants what I want.”
But now Smith is focusing on the European Championships in Boccia, which begins in Spain on November 22. “I think it’s going to be interesting. Some athletes may have problems because it is so soon after the Paralympics,” he says. Smith himself wants to start relatively comfortably in EM, even though he is one of the favorites Yes.” We’ll see what happens. It will be a good competition to end the year.”
Does he think about quitting after so many competitions? Or will he see himself at the Paralympics to be held in Paris in 2024? “To be honest, I would see myself in Australia in 2032,” laughs David Smith. “I’ve never been there and I would like to go there.”
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