Basketballer Baines wants to relive Birmingham 2022 bronze forever

·3-min read
Baines is one of 20 young athletes being support by Aldi and SportsAid
Baines is one of 20 young athletes being support by Aldi and SportsAid

Barrow's Tyler Baines delivered what he thought was the impossible and now wishes he could relive his Commonwealth Games bronze medal win repeatedly, writes Sportsbeat's Megan Armitage.

The 20-year-old was part of Team England's wheelchair basketball squad that clinched bronze over Malaysia in Birmingham.

And winning his first major international medal on home soil was a moment to cherish for the athlete in front of a passionate and vocal crowd.

"Everyone was there, all my family came, and no one could really believe it back at home,” said Baines, who is a member of Aldi’s Rising Stars, a programme that supports 20 young athletes by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs, while also delivering personal development opportunities to many athletes through workshop sessions.

"It was crazy when we got given the medal - we were dressed in our podium outfits and it was just surreal. I wish I could do it again right now."

After winning both their group stage games, England were pitted against a tough Australian team in the semi-final, narrowly losing 12-11.

But thanks to a previous 10-basket victory over Malaysia in the group stages, Baines felt confident that the team could bounce back and claim the bronze for themselves.

He said: "I think we played well in the group games; we won both so as a team we did well and individually I think everyone played brilliantly.

"When we got to that semi-final, that was it and it was a tough loss, but Australia deserved it in the end.

"It was only the night before that we lost in that semi-final so we knew that we just had to beat [Malaysia], and everyone was upset, but all we could think of was that we could not leave without a medal.

"That's all we wanted. We wanted a medal and we left with one."

But the medal wasn't quite enough for the Team England squad, with a drive to beat their previous 19-9 win and reach the glory of 21 baskets.

Baines added: "We wanted to get to 21 the whole game, and we got to 21 with two seconds left.

"21 is like ‘game over’ and with two seconds left in the game, obviously when the clock was ticking in the last minute, we knew we were going to win but we just wanted it.

"I think it was because from the semi-final the night before we wanted to just get there."

Each year, athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports, based on set criteria.

The Rising Stars athletes will be receiving financial support through Aldi as well as a monthly food voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions and to future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Away from the basketball court, Baines thrived in the multi-sport environment and recalled a memorable English moment of making friends with a Ghanian hockey player over a cup of tea.

He said: "We were having a cup of tea in our kitchen and we were asking people if they wanted to come in and join us.

"A Ghanian lad came in and we made friends with him, and now I have him on social media.”

Still revelling in his victory, Baines confirmed that he will be back on court soon enough to train for a place at the upcoming World Championships later this summer.

Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024