WEST FIFE boccia player Kieran Steer has marked his return to the sport by claiming a podium slot at one of the UK's toughest competitions.

The 23-year-old, who is from Crossgates, was in action at the Boccia UK Challenger Series – which attracted the top players from across the country – and went on to win a bronze medal.

Steer, who competes in the BC4 classification for athletes who have impairments that have no cerebral origin, competed for Team GB at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 and went on to reach the semi-finals of the mixed pairs competition.

After the Games, however, the first high-performance boccia player from Disability Sport Fife (DSF) decided to take a break from the sport to pursue other interests and concentrate on other aspects of his life.

However, in October last year, he won gold on his competitive comeback at the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Invitational, and has now followed that up with a medal at UK level.

The Challenger Series, which was held in Lilleshall, Shropshire, involves 24 leading players – eight from the BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 classifications respectively – and, after winning four of his matches, Steer secured third place.

Richard Brickley, DSF president, commented: "Kieran believes he was relaxed and confident and played to a standard that suggests he is on track to return to the form that identified him as one of the leading players in the UK leading up to the Rio Games.

"Involvement in the Challenger Series is another step towards Kieran's ambition of being invited to join the UK squad."

Steer, who in December regained his place in the Scottish boccia squad, won a British Championship bronze as a junior, as well as gold at the World Junior Para-Sport Games in Brazil.

He went on to reach a world ranking of 11 in individual competition – and third in the pairs – and win gold in the European Continental Cup singles in 2015, 12 months after being part of Team GB for the World Championships in Beijing.

After winning the SDS Invitational, Steer regained his place in the Scottish boccia squad after he was one of 15 players selected for 2019 in December.