“Inspiration is what we are ‘obliged’ to offer to persons with disabilities, and even more so to society, in general.”
With less than one week to go until boccia’s 2015 European Continental Cup in Sant Cugat, Spain, Greece’s Paralympic champion Grigoris Polychronidis hopes that constant improvement can spell success for himself and for the Greek national team.
Since finishing sixth at his first Paralympic Games in his hometown of Athens in 2004, Polychronidis has gone on to win silver at Beijing 2008 and gold at London 2012. He knows however that he must continue to be at the top of his game to remain amongst the world’s elite.
“In every sport, if you stop improving, you will be passed. We are trying to get better every year,” said the 33-year-old BC 3 star. “The Greek team is quite refreshed with two new players. Teamwork is our priority, and we are trying to stay focussed and get as many points as possible.”
Polychronidis is predicting tough competition in Sant Cugat, the first major boccia event of 2015, but believes his Greek teammates are in with a good chance of winning.
“Portugal is traditionally strong, and we always get a match in a final or semi-final. Great Britain has done marvellous work over the past few years. Our tradition with them is always to win or lose with only a one-point difference.
“Belgium is always dangerous, and France is a new and promising rival.
“My opinion is that we know them, and they know us. Whoever is in shape that day will win. We will try to be aggressive and go for the victory, focussing on our strong parts of the game.
“We will do our best to win gold.”
Despite being busy with training and competitions, Polychronidis has found the time to become a member of the BISFed Rules Committee, as well as the Hellenic Paralympic Committee.
“I always try to offer as much as possible to the Paralympic Movement,” he said. “Inspiration is what we are ‘obliged’ to offer to persons with disabilities, and even more so to society, in general.”
Polychronidis believes that such inspiration is of utmost importance, in changing the way the world views on people with an impairment.
“I believe that there is no more any gap between a person with a disability and an able-bodied person in most advanced countries, mostly because of the contribution of the Paralympic Movement. [It] is a strong weapon to change things in places where disability is still not something normal.”
The European Continental Cup will be held in Sant Cugat, Spain, from 1-4 April 2015 and will feature around 130 athletes from 23 countries.