Medal winner's thanks for top team
AN athlete has celebrated his Para- lympic success with the team that helped him become a medal winner.
Swansea University's triple medallist David Smith thanked the physios who helped him train for the London Games — and showed off the precious metal he won.
The 23-year-old already had a gold in the boccia team event from Beijing when he scooped a bronze in the same event and a silver in the individual discipline this summer.
Boccia is a ball sport specially designed for athletes with a severe degree of physical disability — it was developed by the Swedish disability sports federation in the 1970's taking inspiration from games such as bocce and boules.
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David said his achievements would not have been possible without the commitment of his Swansea University-based physio team, Dean Locking and Amanda Taylor.
He said: "My entire body has to be as fit as is practically possible to play boccia, never mind compete at the highest level.
"My physio team at Physiotherapy Wales helped me peak to a level that gives me an extra 10 per cent power, stamina and mobility to win these fantastic medals."
In boccia men and women compete together in teams, pairs and individual events. Competitors thrown a leather ball as close as possible to a white target ball, or jack.
The Swansea University aerospace engineering student had been tipped to pick up gold in London, but lost to Thai player Pattaya Tadtong in the final.
But now the young sportsman has set his sights on the 2016 games in Rio, and the possibility of being promoted to team captain. There are also European and World Championships to train for.
He said of boccia: "It's a great game for a lot of disabled people who wouldn't have the chance to compete in sport otherwise. Boccia gives them that opportunity."
Dean Locking, David's physio and the managing director of Physiotherapy Wales, described him as a "very special young man".
He said: "We are so proud of David and his record breaking achievements.
"David suffers with severe cerebral palsy, but he has never allowed this to interfere with his life — his dedication to his studies at Swansea University, his sport as an Olympian and to his family shows the strength of this very special young man.
"We are honoured and delighted that David has trusted us for the last three years to help him through his daily routine, whilst preparing his body for competitive sport."