In the run-up to the Paralympics in Tokyo, we caught up with Swansea alumnus David Smith, Boccia gold medalist, on competing in his 4th Paralympic games!

What does it mean to you to be selected for your fourth Paralympic games?
It means a lot. Not many people manage to have 15 year at the top of any career especially at my age so I feel very lucky.

You have achieved an enormous amount in your career so far. How would defending your Paralympic title at Tokyo rank among those achievements?
The Paralympics is the pinnacle of my sport and to have the opportunity to create history is really exciting. Defending my Paralympic title would definitely rank up there!

For those that might not know too much about Boccia, can you tell us a little bit more about the sport?
Boccia is a bowl’s type game designed for people for severe physical disabilities to have an opportunity to compete in elite sport. We have lots or online resources and information so feel free to search “boccia”. Lots of clubs play across the UK including in Swansea.

You graduated from Swansea University in 2014 with an Aerospace Engineering degree. What are some of your fondest memories from University?
I have lots of great memories from Swansea Uni. It was such an inclusive place for me when I started in 2008. The degree was tough but really enjoyable and the staff were very accommodating. It’s hard to pinpoint specific memories as my fondest, but Varsity and flying were my highlights. My only regret is not playing Cardiff in Boccia!

How did you balance your University studies whilst also competing internationally?
It took me a while to get the balance right and initially my degree was a higher priority until London 2012 came along!

In 2017 you were honoured with an MBE for your achievements. How did it feel to go to the Palace to collect it?
It was great to go to the palace again but this time was sweeter because I could bring my parents with me inside. That was a proud day for the family.

What would your advice be to any young athlete that has ambitions to be an Olympian or Paralympian?
If you believe that you can be good enough then do whatever it takes and seize the opportunity.