Case Study

Training for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics made possible with a Sirus wheelchair accessible car

Sirus customer David Smith MBE is one of the world’s best boccia players. He competes in competitions all over the world and is currently preparing for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Team GB later this month. In this blog, David tells us how he is feeling ahead of his fourth Paralympic Games and how having the ability to drive his wheelchair accessible car has enabled him to carry out his intense training schedule.

How are you feeling about competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics?

I’d say I was feeling confident and relaxed! We fly out on 20th August, the competition starts on the 30th and the opening ceremony on 26th.  The competition is 7 or 8 days long. This is my first time in Tokyo so I’m feeling pretty excited.

How has driving a wheelchair accessible car helped your boccia career?

I’ve had a Sirus wheelchair accessible car for ten years now and it gives me complete independence. Without the ability to drive, it would not be possible for me to get to my boccia training sessions. Before the pandemic, I used to travel all over the country to various training camps in Scotland, the Midlands, and to the famous St George’s Park in Staffordshire. I have to transport my sports chair, so public transport for me is not an option. I need to be able to drive around the country easily without having the stress and worry of getting on and off a train.  I can enter my Sirus VW Caddy Drive From Wheelchair Vehicle from the rear and drive straight into the driver’s position in my wheelchair (a Sunrise Medical QM500). My sports chair (Otto Bock B400) then fits easily behind me. I have bespoke adaptations fitted which enable me to drive (a Paravan system and a mini-wheel).

david smith boccia

How was your training schedule affected by the pandemic?

In early 2020 I had to shield, but luckily I had space in my flat to practice boccia.  I was then able to get an athletes exemption so I could attend training sessions in Cardiff. I did quite a lot of driving as I was travelling to and from Cardiff twice a week for eight months. Having my own wheelchair accessible car was essential.

How is life in 2021?

Shielding in 2020 actually gave me a chance to stop and think about what I wanted to do and gave me the opportunity to reset. I began a new venture in 2020 as a Herbalife distributor and Lifestyle Coach. This gave me a whole new purpose and motivation, so coming into 2021 I felt fitter and healthier than ever before. I have changed my diet which affects my motivation and fitness levels and I have been able to help many clients, one who has lost 7 stone.

How does the Sirus VW Caddy suit your lifestyle?

My Sirus VW Caddy fits me like a glove! I wouldn’t feel connected to a bigger wheelchair accessible car. I can easily fit both of my wheelchairs and the fold-down seats in the back are ideal as when my parents visit, I can drive them around.  I do roughly 20,000 miles a year so fuel efficiency is really important to me. I can get 50mpg out of the VW Caddy which is great, with a Transporter I would struggle to get 40mpg, a significant difference in cost not to mention the impact on the planet. Also, I like that it looks sporty. It’s pretty good around the country roads where I live and it completely suits my lifestyle. Plus it’s easy to park, you don’t need a Blue Badge bay.

 Wheelchair accessible car


As an avid VW fan, have you seen the new VW Caddy 5?

Not yet! But thank god Sirus are doing the new VW Caddy 5!  The Transporter is way too big for me. I’ve had two Sirus Caddy’s since 2011 and it fits me like a glove. I have the smallest car in my boccia team and I can easily fit my sports chair in the back as well as three rear passengers. Some people have a Mercedes Sprinter which is huge, so I’m naturally smug with my Sirus VW Caddy. I love having the smallest car in our squad!

VW Caddy 5

Are you happy with the service you have received from Sirus?

To be honest, I haven’t really had to use the aftersales service, as I’ve no issues at all, it’s been really sound! I’m happy with everyone and I and cannot fault the company. You do the best VW Caddy conversion in my opinion and I’m excited to visit Sirus soon to see the latest generation VW Caddy“.

David competes in the BC1 BC2 mixed team, and BC1 individuals. We wish you luck David!    

About David:

David was on the British boccia team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics. He competed for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics and did so winning Bronze in the Team BC1–2 and Silver in the BC1 individual event. David competed for Paralympics GB for the third time in Rio where he won Gold in the individual BC1 event for the first time in his career. In doing so, David has become the joint most successful British Boccia player in history. David currently holds the ‘triple crown’ of major tournament wins following his win at the World Championships in Liverpool 2018. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to boccia.


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