by Sam Murley
FOR Bury Bombers member Jack Perry, winning a silver medal at the Olympic ExCel Centre is an experience he will never forget.
The 16-year-old was one of the 1,600 elite school-age athletes who travelled down to the Olympic Park in South East London last week to represent their region of Great Britain including, South, North, East, West, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, at the Sainsbury’s 2012 Schools Games.
As part of the wheelchair basketball East squad, Perry helped his side qualify from their pool group despite following up a 63-33 victory over Northern Ireland with a 69-26 defeat to North.
A 50-30 victory over Wales in the semi-finals followed to set up a rematch with North in the final, but unfortunately for East they couldn’t exact revenge, as their opponents grabbed a 50-30 win to claim gold, leaving Perry and his team-mates to settle with second place.
However, despite falling just short of winning the gold medal, Perry, who has been involved in the sport since the age of eight, didn’t let the disappointment dampen his memorable experience of competing at the home of London 2012.
“The whole experience was brilliant, and to have the opportunity to play on the Olympic basketball court was fantastic,” he said.
“It was amazing just seeing everything with the huge arena and all the different sports going on.
“For me it was crazy to think that some of the athletes around me were probably going to be involved at the Olympics and Paralympics.
“That was quite inspiring for me and to be there around them was a really good feeling and one I will never forget.
“It was disappointing to lose the final but for myself it was all about the experience and you can’t be too upset to have a silver medal.”
After getting over the highs of his Olympic experience, the youngster will turn his attention to impressing on a national level after being selected in the last 16 of the Great Britain Under-22 squad for this Summer’s European Championships which will be held at Stoke Mandeville.
Perry is excited about the challenge and reflecting again on his experience last week, he is targeting a successful career in the sport.
“At the moment I am just focusing on making sure I am part of the Under-22 Great Briatin for the European Championships, which would be really exciting to be part of,” he added.
“The whole experience of playing at the Olympic Park has really inspired me, and I just want to carry on with my basketball and get to the highest level I can.”
<n> The region had a number of other athletes who took part of the Sainsbury’s 2012 Schools Games including Elliott Smith and Lawri Davies of Bury and Stowmarket, who featured in the hockey, and Lucy Zhu of Stowmarket who was part of the table tennis squad.