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Rising Above Great Britain, Host Japan Head To Paralympic Basketball Finals

Japan best Britain to head to the Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball gold medal game. All to face a Team USA dominating all aspects of the sport in Tokyo.

Rising Above Great Britain Host Japan Head To Paralympic Basketball Finals
Rising Above Great Britain Host Japan Head To Paralympic Basketball Finals

100 medals.

That’s how many Great Britain have won in Tokyo during these 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games over the last month.

Tonight though, they couldn’t rise above Japan in the Wheelchair Basketball semi-finals.

GB could add another medal to their board on Sunday against Spain, as they now go for bronze on the podium like they got in Rio. Meanwhile host nation Japan will look to grab gold against the dominant Team USA this weekend.

The US on the other hand will look to defend the gold they took in Rio 2016. As at home in Tokyo, Japan look to avenge the Olympic loss for the women’s team against the mighty Taurasi and Bird led America after such an incredible run.

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Japan took a while to get going against Britain, down three at the half. But they rallied back and kept ahead. Winning handily by 79-68 in the end. It was already written with around half the fourth left, but Britain still put up a great fight in the trenches until the horn rang out.

After not only an incredible basketball campaign, but Olympic and Paralympic one as a whole, host nation Japan will reach their first Wheelchair Basketball finals in Paralympic history. The future of hoops in this country is now more than NBA names Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe.

All you have to do is replay and recap Japan’s run in the new 3×3 Olympic tournament, making its debut here in Tokyo too.

Let’s hear it for Team GB as well, who have got this far in the Paralympics after failing to qualify for the Olympic basketball tournament.

British basketball hoop heads will know names like John Amaechi and Luol Deng, who more than the NBA have done wonders for this sport around the world. Yet you can’t talk about this game in the British Isles without mentioning names like player-coach Gaz Choudhry, who scored 26 in this one.

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“All credit to Japan – they were unbelievable today and deserved to beat us today. We didn’t lose this game, they won this game, so credit goes to them. Every time we went on a run they just kept coming and coming,” the coach said in a valiant and gracious effort.

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“It’s important for us to feel this right now. We won’t paper over it. This team is nothing if not resilient. We will bounce back and be ready for the bronze medal match,” the player added for a team that’s still looking for its first final since Atlanta, 1996.

Here’s to Paris 2024.

Guaranteed their first medal this weekend, Japan will look to rise even further like the arc of their sharpshooting led by the likes of Hiroaki Kozai and Reo Fujimoto. Overcome by emotion as the clock ticked down to zero, you can see this means everything to them.

It’s sad to see this season of sports conclude this weekend. Tokyo and Japan have hosted and handled an outstanding Olympic and powerful Paralympic Games, despite the looming threat of COVID in this brave new world. We put Olympians on pedestals they have earned, but more and more with these Paralympic Games we see that these amazing athletes are just as talented, if not more with all the adversity they have to overcome.

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Especially when it comes to this game that is built on height. These incredible wheelchair basketball players in this beautiful game, going even harder in the paint are showing us a different side to the skills and smarts of this sport.

They discriminate against the wonderful women’s game and you can be sure some will with this too, but at the end of the day a bucket is a bucket.

It doesn’t matter who puts the ball in the basket, but how they do it.

And if they do it as a team they’ll all achieve a victory that many who fail to recognise their game never will.

Now that’s a real winner.

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