When I found out my sport for the Commonwealth Games was wheelchair basketball, I was more than happy. Not only was it the first time the sport has ever been at the Games, but I’ve always been immensely impressed by both the talent and dedication of para-athletes and think they’re an absolute credit to the sporting world.
The tournament officially started on 29th July and the men’s England team got things underway with a dominant 17-2 win against South Africa. Now, being a huge football fan, I had to stop myself from thinking (and saying) it’s coming home because I’ve done that after the first game of so many tournaments and it’s only brought me more devastation down the line. I’m sure many of you can relate.
The ability to refrain from saying those three cursed words was amplified just moments later, when the women picked up where the men had left off and romped home to a huge 20-1 win against Kenya. So yeah, at this point, having previously known nothing about wheelchair basketball I understandably thought it was in the bag. To cut a long story short, I was unfortunately mistaken. However, we did manage to take home bronze in both the men’s and women’s which is a valiant effort nonetheless.
To summarise, the medalling went as follows:
Men’s Gold – Australia
Women’s Gold – Canada
Men’s Silver – Canada
Women’s Silver – Australia
Men’s Bronze – England
Women’s Bronze – England
The four days of wheelchair basketball were filled with some enthralling entertainment, with each and every player showing you really can achieve anything you put your mind to. One thing that was clear to see in every game was the passion and pride everyone had in representing their country, and boy did all the athletes do their nations proud!
Finally, I also want to give a shout out to the crowd at the Smithfield site. I only managed to watch it on the TV but the atmosphere sounded electric every single game and was a fitting reflection of what was happening on the court.
Here’s to the next Games where I hope Team England can go two further and secure the gold. You’ve got this!