Meet David Smith
Current Paralympian David attended Treloar's from 2000 to 2008 and left to study aerospace engineering at Swansea University, graduating in 2016 with his Masters.
David competes in BC1, which allows for use of an assistant for certain actions such as handing balls to the player.
David has a series of gold, silver and bronze championship medals nationally and internationally, as well as being a gold medallist in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and Silver and Bronze medal winner at London 2012.
He will be a party of the 10-strong GB Boccia squad at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games in September 2016.
David told us about his journey to become a world-class Boccia player.
How long have you played Boccia and how did it all start?
I started Boccia when I was 6 by playing for Cedar School and going to Stoke Mandeville junior games. Unfortunately, at the time I played sideways and never won an end! It only really came together when I went to Treloar's and started going to Boccia activity every Monday night with Barry Bowden. He perfected my forward throwing and got me to the Nationals within six months. When I was in year 9, I qualified for the British Championships and won it. The rest is history!
When were you a student at Treloar's and how has Treloar's supported you, either when you were here or afterwards?
I was a student from 2000-2008. Treloar’s gave me confidence, challenged me to improve as a person, gave me independence and got me involved in as much as possible.
What attracted you to the game?
At the time at School I was loving doing everything and it was just another of my many activities. It wasn't my favourite thing to do but the fact I was familiar with it initially got me through the door as it were. The unexpected success was the thing that really pulled me.
What do you enjoy about it?
I enjoy the competitiveness, the challenge to be perfect, the different tactics and the psychological stress, or rather the pressure to perform.
Back in the early days, did you ever think you would go to the Paralympics?
In the early days it never even crossed my mind - I was just enjoying life.
Are you a very driven, ambitious person and do you set yourself a high standard?
I am my own biggest critic, nothing less then perfection is good enough for me in terms of my Boccia. I reckon I can be about 90% accurate.
What has been your biggest Boccia challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been converting my initial success at international level into something sustainable. The game has moved on a lot and initially I got left behind, but I have found a few more gears now and I'm up for the challenge again.
And finally.... your thoughts on Rio?
I am really happy to be selected to compete at my third Paralympic Games. Beijing and London were both completely different experiences, and I look forward to finding out what Rio has in store for me. The standard of international competition continues to go up, but I’ve remained focused on my preparations to ensure I’m in the best possible place. I hope the country will get behind us and help supercharge the team to success.
Best of luck David!