Paralympics: Boccia-Smith can’t wait for moment in spotlight

BOCCIA isn’t the first disability sport that springs to everyone’s mind, but after strutting his stuff at the BT Paralympic World Cup Swansea’s David Smith believes all that will change.

The 22-year-old has already built an impressive trophy cabinet despite his young years, none more so cherished than his team gold won at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

But he will be taking on a new challenge in Manchester as boccia makes its debut at the BT Paralympic World Cup, playing in an exhibition match against Ireland.

But despite having European, World and World Cup medals to his name, Smith believes it is this chance to get boccia out in front of a home crowd that will have the biggest effect.

“I am really looking forward to the Paralympic World Cup because it is a good opportunity to showcase our sport to the wider Paralympic community,” the former world No. 1 said.

“There are not many opportunities to play boccia on TV and get it out in front of a home crowd and it is great that we have that chance.

“It is huge that boccia is being played at an annual event in the UK.

“It gives us the same opportunity as athletics and swimming to entertain a large audience and raise the public awareness of boccia.

“Being a ‘small’ sport, the interest from the public, not including friends and family, is fairly small and if we can improve that it is great for the profile of the sport.

“I hope to change the main question asked to me when I say to people ‘I play boccia for GB’, from ‘What’s that?’ to ‘How’s it going?’.

“And the Paralympic World Cup is great for this.”

Once the dust settles in Manchester, Smith will turn his attentions to the World Cup this August in Belfast as he bids to find his form for London 2012 as quickly as possible.

But not before he has unveiled a new secret weapon, something he believes will propel him to new sporting heights.

“Personally, I’m in a very good place at the moment and am really enjoying it my boccia,” he added.

“I’m a bit of a tame Ronnie O’Sullivan with his antics and bags of talent but my head needs to be right and I believe I’m getting there now — hopefully I’m not as hard to manage though.

“Plus I have a new throw which gives me more power and accuracy at distance — that is my secret weapon and I can’t wait to unveil it in Manchester.”

Sportsbeat’s coverage is provided in conjunction with BT.

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