Stephen McGuire may only have one last chance to win a Paralympic medal and says the competition is fiercer than ever.
Although the selection does not take place until May, the Hamilton boccia player will likely compete in the BC4 singles and pairs in Tokyo, and says he believes it could be one of the best games to date. .
Stephen, who played three competitions in Croatia, Canada and Portugal before heading to Tokyo, says he is looking forward to making a third attempt to secure the only competition medal he has yet to achieve.
He said: “It’s very exciting, the preparation for a Paralympic year is always good – everyone is scrambling for the ranking positions and the ranking places.
“Tokyo 2020 is looking good so far. We have qualified all of our slots and in May of this year we will have a selection, we will probably find out soon after.
“I think Tokyo will have a very good Paralympic Games. London 2012 kind of set the benchmark, and Tokyo would love to emulate that or get better, so it’s pretty exciting.
“I haven’t won a Paralympic medal so I’ll try. I’ve been fourth in the last two Paralympics so I would love to go further and win a medal.
“The Paralympic Games are something else, it’s out of this world. my brother Pierre [also a boccia player] once described it as “a prison you don’t want to leave” … it’s fantastic.
“I love everything about the Paralympic Games. You are part of a larger whole. When we travel the world we go as a boccia team, but when you are there you are part of Paralympics GB.
“Your teammates come from athletics, swimming or table tennis, and you become one of many, but at the same time you all support each other – it’s such a fantastic environment to be a part of.
“It would be the icing on the cake if I did manage to get a Paralympic medal, and it would be a great way, I guess, to retire to the Paralympic side – but if not, you never know.
“This will be my 16th year in boccia so I’m the oldest member of the team, but if this is my last Paralympic Games I had a great time, I really enjoyed it.
Stephen was recently at Loughbrough University taking a coaching course, and he says that aspect is just a natural progression.
“Boccia is something I love, it’s something I know. I can share my knowledge, and that’s the key, ”Stephen said. “If I can give back a little of that and encourage someone else to play this sport, then I’ll be happy. “
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