The gold medallists from individual boccia events at Rio 2016 will have a chance to win back-to-back titles starting this Saturday, first day of competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Great Britain’s David Smith won the BC1 event in the last two Paralympics but knows this year conditions will be much different.
“We haven’t had international competitions for almost two years really so it is a little strange coming back but it is quite nice to see everybody. It is hard to say where we are at (competitively) but it is great to come back at the Paralympic Games,” Smith told the Olympic Information Services (OIS).
Watcharaphon Vongsa, from Thailand, won the BC2 individual and team BC1/BC2 gold in Rio, also clinching the team title at London 2012. He looks forward to competition as he attempts to take gold at a third successive Games.
“The court is very good,” the 30-year-old said. “It is nice and organised. I want to win again here at these Games in the team and individual events.”
Korean Jeong Howon and Hong Kong China’s Leung Yuk Wing, respectively defending their BC3 and BC4 individual titles, will also be back.
JEONG also competes in the pairs BC3 event and will aim to recapture the title he won at Beijing 2008.
LEUNG, meanwhile, will try to repeat what he did at Athens 2004, winning gold in the individual and pairs BC4 events. “I am trying to be relaxed to face the game, because just thinking about being the champion or the gold medal would be a lot of pressure," he said.
Vongsa will lead Thailand to defend their BC1/BC2 team title, while Brazil will try a consecutive victory in the pairs BC3, and Slovakia on the pairs BC4.
There will be 25 NPCs competing in Tokyo, with 115 athletes (41 women and 74 men). The competition venue is the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.