You never know what life may bring. That’s for sure. For Great Britain’s Simon Munn it brought a hard stroke of luck at the age of 21 when he lost his leg in a train accident. Until then he had been a talented footballer and suddenly he was forced to change his plans. Today he can look back at a fantastic career in wheelchair basketball and as well as look forward to the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016.
After watching his first game in Australia in the 1990’s he fell in love with our sport and he still is, he said,
“I really love the sport. I love being with the guys and competing for my country. I just love wheelchair basketball and that’s probably why I’ve played for so many years all over the world.”
He loves this sport so much that he will play in his seventh Paralympic Gamess in Rio 2016 at the age of 48! Sometimes he can’t believe this himself. It was his plan to retire after London 2012 but since then he has taken every tournament as they come.
“I never had any plans to continue and now we are here and I’ve been picked to for my seventh games. I’ll definitely retire after these Paralympics. It will be sad in the end as I will not play for Great Britain in another Paralympics ever again but in Tokyo I’ll be 52. I’m not sure if you should go to a Games then.”
All the more reason why he is looking forward to Rio, of course he had also been looking forward to his sixth Paralympic Games in London but he believes every game is special in its own way and he feels that every time he plays for his country it is a great honour. This time there is still one more dream:
“There is only one more chance. You know there is one medal I’ve never got and that is Gold at the Paralympics.”
Great Britain team took silver in Atlanta 1996, and bronze in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
To realise his dream and the dream of his team he accepts every effort will be needed. Video analysis, team meetings, training six hours a day at least five days a week. The weeks are pretty full on and time to relax is small just as is time to spend with his family or doing his favourite hobbies fishing and playing golf. So does Simon Munn sometimes get tired of this:
“Oh yes, you know how old I am. Ten years ago I loved training but now not so much. I know I have to do the training. When you wake up in the morning and think you’ve got 6 hours to do you know it’s going to be tough, but you have to throw everything into it anyway you can because the ultimate goal is gold in Rio.”
And the competitors never sleep. In Simon Munn’s opinion there are so many teams who can win medals now. For example USA, Australia, Germany, Turkey or Spain team are all great.
“It’s so tough and only one team can win the gold medal. It’s unbelievable.”
But this is also what he loves most in wheelchair basketball he freely admits.
“You put yourself up against the rest of the world as you want to be the best that you can. You never find that out until you are in that special game such as that medal game. It’s just that excitement. It helps to find out how good you really are.”
Only a few more days and he can find out this again. We wish you good luck for your seventh games, Simon!