Paralympics 2012: Terry Bywater rues 'worst moment' of career

By Terry BywaterFour-time wheelchair basketball Paralympian
A dejected Terry Bywater after Great Britain's bronze-medal match defeat
A dejected Terry Bywater after Great Britain's bronze-medal match defeat

The London 2012 Paralympics has been my best Paralympics in many ways, but missing out on a bronze medal after losing to the USA on Saturday is one of the worst moments of my career.

I really believe that bronze slipped away from us. For the first 20 minutes the USA were very ordinary but we just couldn't get going. You can't perform like that against the USA and expect to get away with it.

I don't know whether it was nerves or the pressure of performing in a home Paralympics and trying to win a medal, but this is definitely the one that got away.

Although there is pride that we reached this stage, I wasn't good enough and I missed some shots that I would normally make in my sleep. Each time we got close to the USA, they moved on again and we just couldn't cope.

It has been a tough four years for all of us, and a particularly difficult last 12 months for me personally to come back from injury. The emotion we have all shown over the past 11 days in getting out of the group and then losing to Canada and again to the USA has taken its toll on us now.

It is so much harder when you have nothing to show for it and this will hurt us all as a team. The feelings after Beijing were different because I had a medal around my neck and even though I got the blues afterwards, winning a medal and knowing that a home Games was coming up was a massive incentive.

The crowds at the Basketball Arena and the North Greenwich Arena for all of our matches have been marvellous and I want to apologise to them.

Every time I pushed on the floor or we scored a basket I could hear them screaming. It gave me goosebumps and it did make us feel good about ourselves. But they all wanted to see us with a medal around our necks and we should have done it, although we can hold our heads up high because we are one of the top four teams in the world.

For a lot of the crowd, it is their first time to see the sport and they all say how much they loved it, how fantastic it is and how they want to see more of it in the media. It is about time we made the sport bigger.

I now need to spend some time with my wife Jodie and my son Benjamin, because I have spent so much time away from them preparing for this tournament and they have made a lot of sacrifices.

I need to relax for a while and take a break from the game to recharge my batteries because I have nothing left. But I won't be retiring and I just hope we have done British Wheelchair Basketball proud.

Terry Bywater was speaking to BBC Sport's Elizabeth Hudson