Britain secure historic first Paralympic wheelchair rugby medal with gold

·2 min read

Great Britain claimed a historic first Paralympic medal in wheelchair rugby after storming to gold with a superb 54-49 win over three-time champions the United States.

Spearheaded by 24 tries from Jim Roberts, ParalympicsGB triumphed in Tokyo having led at the end of each quarter.

Wheelchair rugby made its full debut as a medal event at Sydney 2000 after being a demonstration sport at the Atlanta Games four years earlier.

A milestone moment for the country in the mixed gender game came following previous bests of bronze-medal match defeats in 1996, 2004 and 2008.

Jointly captained by Chris Ryan and Gavin Walker, GB had guaranteed a place on the podium on Saturday courtesy of a 55-49 win over hosts Japan.

Top scorer Roberts has consistently performed at the Yoyogi National Stadium over the past five days and once again led the way in Sunday’s showpiece.

Stuart Robinson and Aaron Phipps chipped in with 14 and 11 scores respectively to keep the scoreboard ticking over and ultimately ensure an unprecedented achievement.

Star man Roberts said: “I’m a big, proud Welshman. I go to watch the rugby games when I can and I’m a huge supporter, but this is Great Britain and this is the combination of all those nations, and it’s something bigger and that’s why I love team sports actually.

“It’s the combination of the sum of its parts. We’re achieving something that’s bigger than anything one of us could achieve on our own.”

Asked if he was the best Welsh rugby player, he replied: “Alun Wyn (Jones) is still plugging away, isn’t he? He hasn’t retired yet.”

Kylie Grimes, the only woman in the squad, said: “I hope I can inspire girls to give it a go.

“Wheelchair rugby is for everybody, for all of us: young girls, young boys, youth, everybody. I’d love more women in my sport. Women can match the men.

“It’s about tactics, skills, using the brain. The men have their testosterone flying around everywhere, the big hits – but it is not always about that.

“If I can get more women involved as well then the more merrier, I would be delighted.”