Paralympian aims for more gold

david smith

Swansea’s David Smith is hoping for more gold medals when he competes in his second Paralympic games later this year.

Fourth year aerospace engineering student Smith, 21, won gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in Boccia and has more in his sight at the London Games.

Boccia is one of 20 disciplines Games and is similar to bowls.

Played on a long narrow court, players aim to get their balls closest to the target.

Smith began playing the sport at the age of 14 and after winning the nationals has been UK number one ever since.

“Boccia’s a good way to go- you can surprise yourself,” he said.

Smith experienced China first-hand when he flew to compete in his first Paralympics back in 2008.

“We saw a bit of it [Beijing], the Chinese are very good at hiding what they don’t want you to see,” he said.

“We saw all the bits they wanted us to see like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

“They looked after us quite well.”

Smith described the atmosphere of the Paralympics as “crazy”.

“As a Boccia player you’re not used to it,” he said. “You usually just play on your own, maybe with a couple of fans.

“The setup was wicked, with a live TV feed and about 2,000 people filling the hall every day.”

Smith talked about the finals and how satisfying it was to meet Team GB’s old rivals Portugal.

“We thumped them 8-4 and the margin of victory was even more satisfying,” he added.

“We were world number one anyway, so we were expected to do well.”

Smith said it hasn’t always been easy though.

“Boccia is constantly evolving and everyone is improving all the time,” he said.

“When we first started out, Portugal were the hardest team and we were a fair way behind them.

“Recently we’ve had Korea come up, but I think we’re pretty much on level terms with them.”

Smith is engaged to a fellow Boccia player and joked that if he did not win a medal this year she would not marry him.

“She’s very supportive of what I do and has herself played for Wales,” he said.

Team GB are now ranked third in the world, and individually Smith is ranked second in the world.

“I was number two before Beijing, so I was hoping to be number one by now,” he added.

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