TOKYO USA Wheelchair Rugby will bring home the silver medal after a tough 49-54 loss to new Paralympic champion Great Britain. Top scorers for Team USA were Josh Wheeler (Tucson, AZ) with 21 and Chuck Aoki Minneapolis, MN) with 18.
Great Britain led for most of today’s match executing a fast and aggressive offense and defense. The first two periods ended with Great Britain up 26-24. Coming out of the half Team USA fought back to close the gap and the third period of back and forth scoring ended with Great Britain still ahead by one. As play in the fourth and final period of wheelchair rugby for these Games unfolded Great Britain would seize multiple opportunities as the game ended in their favor 54-49.
Co-Captain Chuck Melton (Richview, IL) shared his thoughts on the hard fought match “We gave it our all tonight,” said Melton. “We never gave up on the game, never gave up on each other just like we did the whole tournament. I love every single one of these guys.”
This is Great Britain’s first medal in wheelchair rugby and the first time a European team has medaled in the sport since its inclusion in the Paralympic Games. In the earlier Bronze Medal match host country Japan defeated reigning two time Paralympic champion Australia 60-52.
As the evening concluded, the athletes reflected on their pride to represent their country on the podium. “ Medal ceremonies are hard when you don’t win. We told the guys we need to represent our country well,” said Co-Captain Joe Delagrave (Holmen, WI). “When you are wearing USA across your chest it’s an honor and a privilege. I’m proud of our guys, I’m proud of our team. “
Team USA is now 31-4 in Paralympic Competition having been on the podium in every Games since the introduction of the sport at Sydney 2000 with two golds (Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008), two bronze (Athens 2004 and London 2012) and silver from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
Final Standings Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020
Gold Great Britain
Silver United States of America
8th New Zealand