David Smith MBE and Boccia gold medal winner tells us how his Sirus VW drive from wheelchair vehicle enables him to travel all around the country to training sessions and competitions.
“I have been a customer since June 2011 and I’m currently on my second Sirus VW Drive which two and a half years old and is through the Motability Scheme. I have two sets of adaptions. The first is the Drive from Wheelchair adaption that Sirus design, the second is my Space-Drive adaptive control system and control mountings which were fitted by Auto Mobility Concepts (AMC).
Fuel efficiency on long drives
I mostly use my mobility vehicle for my sport to drive around the country going to Boccia UK training camps or airports for competitions abroad. I have to take two electric wheelchairs, my PA and my Boccia Balls (plus luggage), so from a practicality perspective, it beats the train easily. Also, in terms of cost, I average near 50mpg so I can go to Scotland camps on 40 litres of fuel which is less than 50% the cost of a train ticket. At home, I don’t really need it as everything is within walking distance or free bus pass distance so I try to look after the environment by not using it. However, the flexibility to be able to pick up my wife from work, when the Swansea weather is at its worse is very handy.
Getting to training sessions
My Sirus VW Drive enables me to go to training/games as I have to drive to Swansea which isn’t the best place if you have to commute from anywhere that’s not in South Wales. Bristol is 1hr away so I do have long drives. The current training camp venues are Lilleshall, Loughborough, Largs (Inverclyde), which means 3hr, 4hr and 8hr drives respectively. For competitions, my airports are usually Bristol (happy days!!!) or Heathrow.
Sirus aftersales service
The service at Sirus has been good and I’m happy with their warranty team. Touch wood, I can’t remember many faults with the conversion, apart from a fuse blown here or there. But the team is always on hand to help me stay mobile. I would definitely recommend Sirus to a friend and have done so on many occasions.
Receiving my MBE
I received my MBE (from Prince William) for services to Boccia after winning Gold in Rio Paralympic Games in my individual category. Along with the 3 other Paralympic medals I have won since Beijing 2008 (from both Team and Individual events), that gold made me the joint most successful British Boccia player in history. Obviously, the MBE was primarily for my Rio success, along with the other Gold medal winners from Paralympics GB, but the day was a very proud one for me and my family.
Read more about David’s career here.
“Boccia is a sport designed for athletes with high support needs and has no Olympic equivalent. It is a target sport played indoors with soft leather balls. It is a sport of intriguing tactics, incredible skill and nail-biting tension. Once you see it or play it you will be hooked!” Boccia UK.
- A Paralympic sport which was introduced in 1984
- The sport is pronounced ‘Bot-cha’
- The sport is played indoors on a court similar to the size of a badminton court
- To propel the ball onto the court athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel the ball onto the court aiming to get the closest to a ‘jack’ ball
- The sport is designed for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function
Who can play?
Players are divided into four classifications depending on their disability and functional ability and will be classified into BC1 players, BC2 players, BC3 players, BC4 players. All players have impaired functional ability in all four limbs. BC1-BC3 players will all have Cerebral Palsy and BC4 players will not have Cerebral Palsy but will have another disability with locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs. Disabilities such as Muscular Dystrophy and Tetraplegia will fall under this classification.
If you are interested in the sport, for more information visit http://boccia.uk.com/