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Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby

Rhannu

Rhannu

Years of painful near misses were forgotten as Great Britain won the wheelchair rugby competition in Tokyo with sensational wins against Japan and USA in the knockouts.

A gripping 54-49 defeat of USA in the final brought Great Britain’s first gold in a team sport in the Games’ 61-year history and the first for a European nation in the sport.

Stuart Robinson, a former RAF gunner who lost his legs in an Afghanistan bomb blast, had an outstanding final, winning a couple of crucial turnovers to go with a burst of tries/goals in the critical last quarter.

GB had their noses in front from almost start to finish but it was a fiercely contested match. USA, with Charles Aoki to the fore, levelled matters at 29-29 in the third quarter and 37-37 in the last before Robinson took control. He and the excellent Jim Roberts combined for 38 tries between them, and there were notable contributions from Aaron Phipps, a veteran of London 2012, and low-pointer Ryan Cowling.

As always, however, it was a true and magnificent squad effort and among the medal winners was Kylie Grimes, who became the first woman to win Paralympics gold in wheelchair rugby.

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