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Tokyo Paralympics: Great Britain finish Games with two more bronze medals

Great Britain men’s wheelchair basketball team came to Tokyo as world and European champions
Venue: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 24 August-5 September Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Great Britain won two more bronzes on the final day of action at the Tokyo Paralympics to bring the curtain down on another successful Games.

The men’s wheelchair basketball team beat Spain 68-58 to finish third for the second time in a row while Krysten Coombs took bronze in the men’s SH6 badminton singles.

Earlier, David Weir finished fifth in the men’s T54 marathon as Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won his fourth gold of the Games.

It means that GB finish second behind China in the medal table with 41 golds, 38 silvers and 45 bronzes to make 124 in total.

They won medals in 18 of the 19 sports they competed in, only missing out in shooting.

GB rely on ‘heart’ to finish on a high

Wheelchair basketball player-coach Gaz Choudhry said the win over Spain was a result of “being resilient and being courageous”.

Choudhry took over the coaching duties after head coach Haj Bhania tested positive for Covid-19 prior to departure for Japan.

Following the bitter disappointment of losing to Japan in Friday’s semi-final, GB had to raise their game one more time. After trailing 30-28 at the break, they put in a storming third quarter to finish it 50-40 up and they held on in the final quarter for a fourth bronze from the past five Games.

The Tokyo Paralympic medal table

Choudhry top-scored on 19 points and Terry Bywater paid tribute to the role played by the 36-year-old throughout the Games.

“We can’t say enough about Gaz, the way he’s led this team and brought us together – the bond we have in this group is something really special,” said Bywater.

“I’ve got five Paralympic bronze medals but it’s fair to say this one means just a bit more because of all the sacrifices we’ve made and tough times we’ve had.”

Choudhry played down his own achievements

“We’ve had so many knock-backs all summer. This game just came down to heart,” 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. But this team deserves a gold.”

Final-day joy for Coombs

Krysten Coombs
Krysten Coombs is now aiming to compete in Paris in 2024

Coombs, who outside his sport does some acting and has appeared in an episode of Game of Thrones, came into the Paralympics ranked fifth in the world.

A win in the group stage over team-mate Jack Shephard helped him get into the last four where he lost to India’s Krishna Nagar.

Despite losing the first game to Brazil’s Vitor Tavares, the 30-year-old came through to win 12-21 21-10 21-16 to follow Dan Bethell’s silver medal in the SL3 event.

“Being here has been amazing but to come away with a medal is brilliant,” he told Channel 4.

“I’m shocked and overwhelmed. I can’t believe it but I’ve been working so hard.

“Having the sport at the Paralympics will do so much for it all over the world.”

Shooters off target in Tokyo

Britain’s Matt Skelhon and Lorraine Lambert both missed out on a place in the final of the last event on the shooting programme, the R6 mixed 50m rifle prone SH1.

“Today, I think I couldn’t handle the pressure. I really lost it,” said Skelhon, who won bronze in the event at London 2012 and was Paralympic champion from 10m in 2008.

“It has been a really tough week. I am well out of competition practice, and it showed out there.

“My confidence is low and I went out and tried as hard as I could but I think that just put even more pressure on myself. I gave it everything and it wasn’t enough.

“I think 90% of it is mental – if the equipment is on point then the rest is mental – knowing you’re at a level to compete with others but we really haven’t had that with no exposure to competition for two years.”

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