Tokyo 2020 may be too far away for Sehmi

Mandip Sehmi
Mandip Sehmi

Mandip Sehmi says his third Paralympics might be his last.

The Leamington athlete was part of a Great Britain squad which eventually finished fifth in Rio following agonising defeats to eventual winners Australia and Canada.

After coming so close to upsetting the sport’s traditional powerhouses, Sehmi believes GB are close to cracking the top four, which also contains USA and Japan.

However, the 35-year-old has yet to make up his mind whether he will be a part of it.

“I’m not sure,” he said when asked whether he will be at Tokyo in 2020.

“I’m going to enjoy a little time off and see what other opportunities arise.

“A Paralympic cycle is four years and a lot can happen in that time.

“As a team we have moved forward so rapidly to close the gap on the top four.

“The scary thing is there’s still loads more things we will improve.

“We lost to Australia by two and Canada by one in overtime.

“Our performances were there, we just needed a little luck, which wasn’t.”

Great Britain brought their campaign to a close with a 56-42 win over Sweden to remain Europe’s top-ranked wheelchair rugby nation and Sehmi said the victory rounded of an “amazing” Games.

“It was an amazing experience. The Brazilian crowds were so passionate and loud and I’m so proud of my team-mates, we really gave it our all.

“After all the doom and gloom that was reported at the Olympics, the Para’s were amazing but I guess it’s you that chooses how you feel and the crowds for our games helped us – full to the brim and super loud for their new love of wheelchair rugby.”

With wheelchair rugby one of the last events to finish, Sehmi had little time to let his hair down in Rio.

However, he said the Champagne was flowing as the Great Britain athletes celebrated a record medal haul aboard British Airways’ gold-tipped Victorious 747 on their flight back to the UK.

“Yeah we were lucky enough to get looked after by British Airways. A couple of glasses of fizz and very excited staff members made the journey home enjoyable but knowing we were going back to our loved ones really put smiles on our faces.

“Even as we came through Terminal 5 there were staff in rows cheering us out, all the way through to where the press and families were waiting.

“It was such a beautiful feeling knowing you’re a part of this great nation.”