Terry Bywater and Ian Sagar keen to come back stronger after wheelchair basketball bronze in Tokyo

Terry Bywater will delay retirement plans in a bid to turn four Paralympic bronzes into a gold in Paris.

Terry Bywater: Wheelchair basketballer from Middlesbrough won a fourth Paralympic bronze. (Picture: PA)

Bywater believes his latest medal means just that little bit more after Great Britain rebounded to claim a spot on the men’s wheelchair basketball podium.

The team arrived in Tokyo with high expectations after winning the last World Championships, only to learn influential coach Haj Bhania wouldn’t be travelling after testing positive for Covid, Gaz Choudhry stepping up to take on the player-coach role.

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After the disappointment of a semi-final defeat to hosts Japan, Great Britain overcame Spain in the bronze medal contest with a 68-58 victory at the Ariake Arena.

Great Britain's Terry Bywater celebrates with teammate Abdi Jama, (left) after the end of the match following their victory over Spain in the Wheelchair basketball Bronze medal match at the Ariake Arena during day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire)

And Choudhry not only picked the team and called the tactics but top scored with 19 points, aided by close friend and five-time Games veteran Bywater with 14 points.

“I thought this would be my last Paralympics but it’s only three years to Paris, my heart is set now,” said Middlesbrough’s Bywater. “I want to go out on a high and just play in a Paralympic final, that’s still my greatest dream.

“We didn’t come here to win bronze, we came to make the final but if people knew what we’d been through I think they may understand. Losing your head coach just a few days before we arrived was just crazy. It felt a constant uphill battle and this means a lot more than a bronze.

“Gaz knows basketball, he lives and dies for it. He’s been playing a long time and he’s got so much respect from all of us. What a job he did, he’s a legend.

“I’ve been on a losing semi-final team five times, that hurt. I didn’t shed a tear and I wasn’t angry, this was just a massive game to focus on and we’re here again with a Paralympic medal.”

Bywater was joined by Barnsley’s Ian Sagar, a fellow bronze medallist from Rio, who acknowledged there is work to do, with just 1,088 days and counting to the start of the next Games in Paris.

“This is a terrific group, it’s got a really exciting future and this is just another step on the journey,” he said. “This whole experience will only make the lads stronger and more determined in Paris.”

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