"Britain has the strongest unity I have witnessed over my 10 years and counting of being involved in the squad"
Great Britain’s Stephen McGuire is confident his home team can top the medals table at August’s 2018 Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) World Boccia Championships, in Liverpool.
Around 190 athletes from 33 countries are set to compete in the event that will take place between 12-18 August.
“It will be incredibly tough, we will need to keep our discipline, our focus, our togetherness – but we have the athletes to do so,” said McGuire, the world No. 1 in the BC4 category.
“Britain has the strongest unity I have witnessed over my 10 years and counting of being involved in the squad. We push each other across every classification on a daily basis and I believe this has acted as a catalyst to our success over the past few seasons.”
The 34-year-old’s confidence is backed up by Britain’s second place medals table finish at April’s World Boccia Open in Montreal, Canada.
Although McGuire believes nations such as Brazil, Japan and Thailand will be tough to beat, he thinks Britain has the talent take them on.
“David Smith in the BC1 classification has consistently showed his class in the big events,” he said. “Our BC4 pair have been consistent in the medal matches of late. Our BC3 pair won silver in their last World Championships outing together. Jamie McCowan and I are highly ranked individually in our respective classifications at the moment and looking to put the pressure on, come the Worlds.”
Having won individual and pairs gold at both March’s Regional Open in Madrid, Spain, and the World Open in Montreal, McGuire now hopes to add to his one gold and two silvers from previous World Championships.
“Last year was my most consistent season and I’ve tried to keep the momentum into 2018 in the lead up to the Worlds in Liverpool.
“Without giving away too many trade secrets, I’ve been working hard on increasing my consistency on court, working on match play tactics off court and, above all, continuing to build momentum and improve our rankings in order to give myself and our pair the best opportunity to medal in Liverpool,” added McGuire.
In his class, McGuire thinks anyone from the world’s top 16 can win the top prize.
He highlighted Hong Kong’s Paralympic champion Yuk Wing Leung as an experienced talent and also picked out China’s Yuansen Zheng, who he defeated for gold at the 2016 World Championships, as a threat. Another contender tipped by McGuire is Samuel Andrejcik, although the Slovakian has never won a World Championship medal.
According to McGuire, the pairs event is wide open with Brazil, Colombia, Hong Kong, Slovakia and Thailand all possessing podium potential.