The British national player Terry Bywater is a legend and an institution. The family man played five Paralympic games, four World and nine European Championships for Great Britain. In our interview Terry talked about the upcoming Champions League final in Hamburg, the Spanish league and his biggest sport moments.
Terry, Lutz Leßmann, the manager of the RSB Thuringia Bulls, recently said, that you are one of the few players in the world who can decide a wheelchair basketball game on its own, besides such names like Özgür Gürbulak, Alex Halouski or Steve Serio. What do you think about his statement?
The statement is one of respect and its nice to hear these comments and be named with so many great players , but I can change a game only with my team mates, without them I am nothing.
What, in your eyes, is absolutley necessary to become a successful player? Do you have a secret recipe or advice for all the youngsters out there?
I think the secret recipe is to enjoy, grow up enjoying the game and for all the young players have fun because it does not last forever .
You travelled the whole world with CD Ilunion and the Britsih national team. What was the biggest moment so far? And can you explain why?
I think the biggest moment for me was Beijing Paralympics 2008 when GB won a bronze medal in this game. I scored 32 points and it was my start at the top of my game.
Can you give us a short summary about your career and places you’ve played?
I have had a great career: 5 Paralympic games – 3 bronze medals, 4 World Championships – 1 silver medal, 9 European Championships – 3 gold medals. I have played all over the world and it has been an honour to do this.
How is life in Spain for your family? Did they get used to it? Or do they miss the British way of life?
My wife Jodie and my son Benjamin love spain. We have all enjoyed the experience.
You’ve lost three games this season with Madrid in the regular round. Albacete is leading the table. How did happen?
It is very difficult to win every game. The Spanish league is very strong, but we will still make the play-offs and have a chance to be champions again. What CD Ilunion has achieved the last three seasons is incredible.
Despite the defeats in the Spanish league your team showed a great performance in the Champions League. What makes your team so strong?
What makes Ilunion strong is the teams attitude. We play together and never stop fighting for each other.
The Final-Four in Hamburg is calling. You’ll meet your buddy and teammate of the British nationalteam Ian Sagar in the semis. Are you two already writing text messages or making bets who of you will make it to the final?
It is always fun playing against your friends or team mates, but you must stay focused and respect everybody. My bet is Madrid will make the final (laughs).
In Cantú Galatasary Istanbul suffered a crushing defeat versus the Thuringia Bulls in the Champions League quarterfinal. What was your first thought? And how would you describe the Bulls‘ general performance this season?
The Bulls are very strong with a great team. But like all teams at the finals, any side can win. They are great to watch. The Bulls play fast and with energy. If we meet the bulls, it will be a great game.
The wheelchair basketball community in Germany is really looking forward to the World Championships in Hamburg this summer. Which teams belong to the closer group of favorites? And what’s possible for you and the English squad?
The World Championships will be great in Germany. Wheelchair basketball in Germany is fantastic. Many people love it and Germany is always fun to go to. It’s going to be difficult, many sides have chances. It’s so tough right now for national teams with maybe 6,7 or 8 squads with possibilities to become World Champions in Hamburg. A final between GB and Germany sounds not too bad.
Last but not least – could you please complete the following sentence: Wheelchair World Champions 2018 will be the following team, … because …
Wheelchair World Champions 2018 will be team GB. Because it could be my last World Championships and I need a gold medal (laughs).
Cheers mate! Thanks for your time.
Interview: Martin Schenk | Photo: Armin Diekmann | Special thanks: Joe Bestwick