Great Britain claim wheelchair basketball bronze on final day of Tokyo Games

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Bronze for Great Britain in basketball and badminton brought down the curtain on a medal-laden campaign at the Tokyo Paralympics.

GB finished as runners-up in the overall table for the second successive Games following a total of 124 podium places: 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze.

The men’s wheelchair basketball team clinched the country’s penultimate medal in Japan by defeating Spain 68-58 in their third-place play-off.

Gaz Choudhry – who has been coaching the team after head coach Haj Bhania tested positive for Covid-19 prior to departure to Japan – was once again GB’s top scorer, registering 19 points, with Terry Bywater adding 14.

“All we’ve done with this medal is validate this team to the outside, but for us internally, we were validated already,” said Choudhry.

“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.

“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.”

Krysten Coombs then had the final say with the shuttlecock.

He bounced back from Saturday’s semi-final loss to second seed Krishna Nagar by coming from a game down to beat Brazil’s Vitor Goncalves Tavares 12-21 21-10 21-16 in the SH6 bronze medal match.

“It’s a dream come true. To be able to come away from these amazing Games with a bronze medal, it’s just unreal,” said Coombs.

“It’s an awesome sport as you can see, and there’s so many opportunities with it as well.

“I’d like to think I can inspire other kids with dwarfism at home, that there is a journey and you can be successful with it.”

Earlier, six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir finished fifth in the men’s T54 marathon in a season’s best time of one hour, 29 minutes and 45 seconds.

Fellow Briton Johnboy Smith was 10th in 1:32:25, while compatriot Derek Rae crossed the line ninth in the T46 race in 2:47:04.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won the T54 event in a time of 1:24:02, 20 seconds ahead of Chinese athlete Zhang Yong, with American Daniel Romanchuk third.

Great Britain’s David Weir finished fifth in the T54 marathon
Great Britain’s David Weir finished fifth in the T54 marathon (Tim Goode/PA)

Weir said: “I’ve gone under 1:30 which I haven’t done for a few years, so I’m pleased with that.

“I knew it would be quick at the front but I am disappointed because I thought I was going to get a bronze medal today. But I tried my best, it just wasn’t quite enough.

“Credit to them, they (top three) were on another level.”

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