MILTON Keynes wheelchair basketball star Simon Munn says this month’s BT Paralympic World Cup will be the perfect warm-up in his bid to end his career on a high with gold at London 2012.
The 44-year-old is contemplating retirement after the showpiece event and is determined to add the missing medal to his haul of one Paralympic silver and two bronzes.
Munn will captain Great Britain as they step up their preparations for the Games by facing off against the USA, Germany and Japan at the Manchester Regional Arena in late May.
And with the Paralympics now fast approaching, Munn knows that GB – the reigning European champions – have a great chance to iron out any remaining bugs as he looks to bow out in fairytale fashion late this summer.
“I’ve been thinking about retiring after the Paralympics – so to get a gold medal there would be the perfect way to end my career,” he said.
“It would be brilliant to complete my medal collection in London. If I’m being honest I want gold and nothing less, but if we can get on the podium it will still be a fantastic achievement for us.
“It’s always nice to go to the Paralympic World Cup and perform well. It’s a really well-run tournament and we always get a lot out of it.
“But it won’t be easy because there are three good teams competing. So to come away with three wins against Germany, the USA and Japan would be a really excellent achievement.
“It’s all about building towards London now. If you lose every game but then come back with a medal from the Paralympics it will have all been worthwhile.
“Sometimes with tournaments you can learn more from your mistakes – if you lose you know you’ve got work to do.”
With London just around the corner you could forgive the players for being slightly cautious on the court to keep themselves in top condition.
But Munn says that none of his side can afford to pull any punches in Manchester with Paralympic places up for grabs.
“No one wants to get injured with the Paralympics coming up but we don’t think about it,” he said. “If injuries happen then they happen. We go into every tournament to play hard, the way we want to play.
“Everyone’s fighting for their place at London. It’s all about getting picked so you can’t shy away from anything. We are the European champions so we’re going to go out there and perform.”
The BT Paralympic World Cup is taking place in Manchester from 22-26 May, with elite international athletes also competing in both athletics and seven-a-side football.
And Milton Keynes will be represented in the football competition too, with Alistair Patrick-Heselton in the Great Britain squad.
He plays in the Cerebral Palsy team and has also been boosted by having his place on the Paralympic team for London 2012 confirmed after recently attending a warm-weather training camp in the USA.