The IPC announced their ‘Ones to Watch’ in the world of boccia today. Throughout January the IPC will be identifying athletes across all Paralympic sports in a bid to assist the public and media understand who has a chance of taking home the medals.
The 8 Boccia athletes to make the list are:
David Smith (GBR)
London 2012 silver medallist Smith will be hoping to go one step further at Rio 2016. Since the last Paralympic Games he has won the 2013 European title, 2014 world title and finished 2015 ranked second in the world for the BC1 class behind the Netherlands’ Daniel Perez.
Daniel Perez (NED)
The world number one in the BC1 class will make his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. He won bronze at the 2014 World Championships and in 2015 won gold at the World Opens in Poland and Colombia.
Maciel Sousa Santos (BRA)
Santos will head into Rio 2016 as the defending Paralympic champion in the BC2 class and will start the year as the world No.1. He won bronze at the 2014 World Championships and in 2015 won team BC1/BC2 and individual gold at Toronto 2015.
Jacob Thomas (GBR)
Thomas started 2016 as the world No. 1 in the BC3 class and will be hoping to perform better at Rio 2016 than he did on his Paralympic debut at London 2012, where he made the last 16. At the 2014 World Championships he won bronze and in 2015 won silver at the World Open in Poland.
Han Soo Kim (KOR)
Rio 2016 will be Han Soo Kim’s second Paralympic Games and, after winning the 2014 individual BC3 world title, he will be full of confidence. Kim finished 2015 ranked third in the world in the individual BC3 class.
Yuk Wing Leung (HKG)
Leung is preparing for his fourth Paralympic Games. On his Paralympic debut at Athens 2004, he won two golds medals, topping the podium in both the individual and pairs BC4 events. He won the individual BC4 world title in 2014 and topped the world rankings in 2015.
Direcu Jose Pinto (BRA)
At Rio 2016, Pinto will be targeting a unique triple double of Paralympic titles having won individual and pairs gold at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. In 2014, he finished fifth in the World Championships and finished 2015 ranked seventh in the world.
Marco Dispaltro (CAN)
Former wheelchair rugby player Dispaltro won pairs BC4 bronze at London 2012 and in 2014 won a number of World Open events. He finished 2015 ranked second in the world behind Hong Kong’s Yuk Wing Leung.
Adapted from the IPC article online at: http://www.paralympic.org/news/ones-watch-boccia-and-wheelchair-fencing-named