Nominated for Sport award
David Smith OBE from Swansea has been playing boccia for 26 years.
He was first diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged 1 and first played Boccia aged 6 when his school competed at a Stoke Mandeville tournament for kids with disabilities.
When he went to Treloar’s school in Alton, Hampshire, he had the opportunity to play several disability sports but excelled at boccia. At 14 years old, he became the youngest ever British Boccia champion. At the age of 18, he became double World Champion after winning his first major international Individual and team gold at the 2007 World Championships in Vancouver. A year later, he won a team gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Originally from Eastleigh in Hampshire, David then came to study Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University and, over the years, set up a local Boccia club and an elite training base for himself in the city.
Building on his World and Paralympic wins, over the next 14 years he would win 6 Individual and 1 team European Championships events, 2 Individual World Championships, an Individual silver as well as a team bronze at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Individual Gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio and an Individual Gold in the Paralympic games in Tokyo.
At his 4th Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, David stays world number one and is the most decorated Boccia player of all time. Famous on Channel 4 for his aggressive style of play and special Paralympic hairstyles, David has ensured Boccia has seen a large increase in participants.