David Smith heads nine-strong ParalympicsGB boccia team bound for Tokyo

·2-min read

Reigning Paralympic and world champion David Smith has been named in ParalympicsGB’s boccia squad for this summer’s rescheduled Tokyo 2020.

Smith, 32, Britain’s most decorated boccia player alongside the retired Nigel Murray, heads a nine-strong team and will be aiming to add to his haul of four medals from across three Games.

“I’m not thinking too much about the joint record,” Smith said. “I’m more interested in playing well and winning. I could surpass the joint record by winning a bronze, but my focus is on the gold.

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“It’s crazy to think that this will be my fourth Games and I’m still only 32. That’s exciting because there’s still a lot more to come.”

Smith will be joined by six returning Paralympians – Claire Taggart, brothers Jamie and Scott McCowan, Evie Edwards and Stephen McGuire.

The squad’s youngest member, Louis Saunders, 19, Beth Moulam and Will Hipwell are set to make their Paralympics debut in Tokyo.

Saunders said: “It was lovely to share the news with my family who have been so supportive.

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“They even let me turn the lounge into a mini boccia court during lockdown. They can’t wait to support me and the team from home this summer.”

ParalympicsGB chef de mission Penny Briscoe added: “All nine athletes have shown terrific strength and resolve since the start of the COVID pandemic last year and I look forward to seeing just what they can achieve on the boccia court at Tokyo 2020 this summer.”

Boccia, a precision ball sport related to bowls and petanque and very similar to curling, became a Paralympic sport in 1984 and includes individual, pairs and team matches.

A total of around 230 athletes from 19 sports are expected to compete for ParalympicsGB in Tokyo from August 24 to September 5.

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