IAN Sagar got his Paralympic wheelchair basketball debut off to a dramatic start at London 2012 – however it was heartache and not jubilation he was feeling after it.
Sheffield-born Sagar played an integral role along with Terry Bywater, Simon Munn and Abdi Jama as the Great Britain men’s team began their campaign against Germany, a far cry from Beijing 2008 where he was a reserve.
However try as he might the 30-year-old couldn’t inspire Britain to victory at the North Greenwich Arena as they overturned a 34-27 halftime deficit to force overtime at 66-66.
They ran out eventual losers 77-72 to the Germans but Sagar and co don’t have time to dwell on the loss with Paralympic silver medalists Canada next up on tonight.
Meanwhile Amy Conroy was her own harshest critic after the British women’s wheelchair basketball began with a heavy defeat – finding her only solace in the fact that things can only get better.
Britain were given a lesson by the Netherlands at the North Greenwich Arena, slumping to a 62-35 defeat with Mariska Beijer notching up 26 points, leaving the host nation rather red-faced.
Conroy, one of seven Paralympic debutants for Britain, was one of the few shining lights, top-scoring for the hosts with 15 points but that was of scant consolation as the six-time European silver medalists romped home.
And 19-year-old Conroy, the second youngest member of the British squad, pulled no punches in her damning assessment of their performance.
“We completely choked under the pressure. For seven of us it was our first time playing at the Paralympics and you could see it in people’s eyes out there, we were all frantic,” she said. “But now that it is out of the way hopefully that will be the nerves gone. There are plenty of matches to get it right and no-one wins a medal on day one.
“I feel awful. I didn’t really get into the zone; I didn’t really feel it to be honest. We made too many mistakes and as their score got bigger and bigger it was harder to keep our heads up but we just have to try and forget about it.
Ian Sagar is a Lloyds TSB Local Hero and member of ParalympicsGB. Lloyds TSB is proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and supporter of ParalympicsGB on their journey to London 2012. lloydstsb.com/london2012