Paralympian Smith helps GB to European boccia golds

Great Britain clinched four medals, including three golds, at the European Boccia Championships in Portugal.

Leading the way was three-time Paralympic medallist David Smith who won BC1 individual gold and also helped GB to team gold in the BC1/2 event

The BC4 pairs squad of Stephen McGuire, Kieran Steer and Jamie McCowan retained their European title.

What is boccia?

  • The sport made its Paralympic debut in 1984 and is similar to boules
  • Each side has six balls and the aim is to get your balls closer to the white target ball, the jack, than your opponent
  • All athletes have an impairment that affects all four of their limbs
  • Men and women compete alongside and against each other in the sport

Jacob Thomas, Jess Hunter and Scott McCowan won their first major medals with bronze in the BC3 pairs event.

However both Hunter and Nigel Murray were beaten in their individual bronze play-offs.

Smith, who was beaten in the BC1 final at last year's London Paralympics, retained his European title with a 6-1 win over Greece's Panagiotis Soulanis.

The 24-year-old had earlier teamed up with fellow London Paralympian Nigel Murray as well as newcomers Emma Goodchild, Joshua Rowe and Martin Davis to win a tight team final against the hosts Portugal, who GB had also beaten to win team bronze in London .

The GB team eased through the pool stages and defeated the Netherlands 9-3 and Slovakia 13-0 to reach the decider but had to battle hard before getting the better of Portugal 5-4.

The BC4 pairs had a more comprehensive final victory, beating Hungary 6-1 while after losing in a tie-break to Greece in the semi-finals, the BC3 pairs recovered to get the better of Belgium 3-1.