Eastleigh’s David Smith makes Tokyo 2020 Paralympic squad

David Smith MBE Pic: © imagecoms 2021

The reigning Paralympic and World Champion David Smith MBE has been named in Paralympic GB’s boccia squad set to compete at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games this summer. 

The Gold medal winning Paralympian, originally from Eastleigh, will lead a squad of nine and is aiming to add to his incredible haul of four medals from across three games. He jointly holds the title of Britain’s most decorated boccia player with the now retired Nigel Murray: 

“I’m not thinking too much about the joint record. 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.

“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, who now live in Swansea, was awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Eastleigh – the Borough’s highest honour – in 2013 and then an MBE in 2017.

The experience of lockdown has proved positive for Smith:

“The season is going fantastically. Lockdown has sharpened my focus, given me a chance to reflect on my personal life and reset my goals.

“I’m looking forward to putting on a show for the world in Tokyo. This pandemic has been tough for so many people. However, if me and my rivals can play high intensity, entertaining Boccia, perhaps we can inspire the next generation to start playing and dream of a brighter future.”

The Paralympics GB team most notably captured the imagination of the British public at London 2012, winning 120 medals in front of sell-out crowds with countless memorable performances. A total of around 240 athletes from 19 sports are expected to make up the British team this time round.