Paralympic bronze feels like more than gold for GB hooper Fox
Swindon’s Ben Fox believes Paralympic bronze 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.
After the disappointment of a semi-final defeat to hosts Japan, Great Britain overcame Spain in the bronze medal contest to claim the final spot on the podium with a 68-58 victory at the Ariake Arena.
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 Terry Bywater with 14 points.
“It feels like more than a gold after everything the team’s been through,” Fox said.
“Losing that semi to Japan hurt but we’ve come away with a medal despite losing our coach before we came and having Gaz as player-coach.
“I’m going back to the UK with a medal around my neck again. It’s not the colour I came for but it’s another Paralympic medal and I’m super proud.”
But Fox acknowledges there is work to do, with just 1,088 days and counting to the start of the next Games in Paris.
Four bronze medals for five Games is a return all on the team are determined to upgrade in three years’ time.
“There is work to do but we are all raring to go after a bit of a break,” the 26-yer-old added.
“It has been a tough couple of years for everyone across the globe but we are coming home with something and it’s now time for a bit of a rest.
“We are motivated for Paris already and will be working hard to get ready for that.”
Choudhry deflected praise from his team-mates and hailed the collective spirit of the group, many of whom have spent months away from their friends and family to keep the squad as safe as possible during the pandemic.
The next start is a defence of their world title in Dubai next before focus switches to Paris 2024.
“All we’ve done with this medal is validate this team to the outside but for us internally, we were validated already," he said.
“This bronze medal is for everyone else. We know where we were, but now we’ve won it, it definitely feels more than a bronze.
“This team deserves a gold. This group absolutely deserves a gold. There are some guys that aren’t here that are at home. When they come back into the team, we are absolutely adamant we want a gold before it’s all said and done, and Paris is what we’re going for.
“In three years, any other variables we don’t have, we’re going to go back and correct those so we have an even better chance of making the final.”
“It was the collective identity of this group. We’ve had so many knock backs all summer. We relied on that experience of being resilient and being courageous.”
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Last updated by System Admin on 27th August, 2018