By Charlie Bennett in Tokyo
Swindon’s Ben Fox will play for a Paralympic medal this weekend after Great Britain’s wheelchair basketball team roared into the semi-finals with another brilliant comeback.
Fox featured in the 66-52 win against Canada, which saw them recover from a 42-34 deficit midway through the third quarter to score 24 points in the last and seal their safe passage to the last four.
They are guaranteed to play for at least bronze on Sunday and could fight it out for gold if they beat Japan in the last four.
Player-coach Gaz Choudhry top-scored with 21 points for ParalympicsGB, while there were also major contributions from Lee Manning with 17 and Gregg Warburton’s 16.
Choudhry said: “It was a do-or-die game, it is the toughest game to play but we knew it was a 40-minute game and we prepared, everyone performed amazingly and we came through.
“I don’t know what it is [about the fourth quarter], we seem to play our best when we have our backs against the wall and I am not sure why.
“If I could bottle that up when we are down big, we would have it from the start but we knew it would be a grind, we knew they have Paralympic gold medallists on their team, we know they have the greatest player of all time on their team.
“They have a phenomenal coaching staff in Joey Johnson and they know us well, we knew it would take 40 minutes to beat them and that’s what happened.”
Canada, Paralympic champions at London 2012, started brightly at the Ariake Arena and led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter.
They extended that to 30-26 at half-time but ParalympicsGB reduced the gap to just one point in the third quarter, with Choudhry landing a three-point shot.
They then dominated in the fourth, outscoring Canada 24-9.
“The quarter-final is way tougher than a final because you know if you are out, you leave empty-handed,” Choudhry added.
“We have been in the situation where we have been top of the pool in the 2010 and 2014 World Championships and we lost the quarter-final, so we have been on the other end of this and there isn’t a worse feeling so we used that as motivation to go out and execute tonight.”
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