- 14 Sep 08, 05:46 AM
After spending just over a week in Beijing, I discovered on Saturday night that the best way to learn Mandarin (which is probably the hardest language in the world to master if you are a Westerner) is to have a night out on the town.
If you are a wheelchair user, clubbing in Beijing is bizarre and after a few drinks you have to try to explain to a local cab driver how to get back to your hotel.
It is indeed a mammoth task that requires a combination of skill, patience and trust.
There may be times when you feel you are going in the wrong direction but you have to be brave and ultimately follow the Paralympic flame, because it's a fantastic landmark!
Funnily enough, I think there are some parallels between my journey home and the GB men's basketball team's potential journey to the Paralympic final.
Their quarter-final game against Germany was a strange encounter - the team started well but finished poorly.
Although they finished nervously I always felt GB would be too strong for the Germans and the game doesn't involve a penalty shoot-out so there was never a chance of a heart-breaking finish"
Simon Munn aka "The Big Unit", which is now my new name for him, had one of the best games of his life he led all scorers with 31 pts and 20 rebounds.
He gave an awesome display of offensive fire-power, penetrating the hapless German defence time after time and making them pay with a softness of touch that belies a man of his size.
Johnny Pollock also had a huge performance for two quarters, playing with style and focus, but perhaps the biggest praise should go to the new kid on the block Abdi Jama.
The 25-year-old from Liverpool was able to hang tough in what was most definitely the most important game of his career.
He scored six crucial points in the fourth quarter to snuffle out any hopes of succcess the Germans might have felt they had in the final minutes of the game.
So now it is the Aussie Rollers in the semi-finals; a team that over the years has inflicted a lot of pain on Team GB.
In Atlanta in 1996 in the gold medal game, GB surrendered a 20-point half-time lead and were left distraught after Troy Sachs scored a record breaking 42 points to lead them to victory.
I remember watching the highlights of that game on the BBC; part of me in awe of Sachs's performance part of me upset for the guys.
Four years ago in Athens, GB played Australia and we were comprehensively beaten again.
Sunday night will be a career-defining moment for many of the GB players.
They need to be patient as a team and Pollock and Munn shouldn't try to do too much.
Johnny, in particular, needs to show trust in his team-mates and try to get all of the starting five involved in the game early, especially Peter Finbow who seems to be lacking confidence in his outside shooting this tournament.
They must play with a lot of skill in offence using picks to open up the Aussie defence. But most importantly, they must be brave and have the belief that as a team they can win!
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