PARALYMPICS footballer Alistair Patrick-Heselton was left deeply frustrated by Great Britain’s seventh place finish at London 2012 – and also disappointed by the reaction of some of his team-mates.
Defeats in their opening two games against Brazil and Ukraine ended Great Britain’s chances of challenging for a medal in the cerebral palsy seven-a-side competition, which was hard to take for Patrick-Heselton who went into the Paralympics with his heart set on a medal match.
A 4-0 victory over USA followed, but then defeat to Argentina meant the team would close their home campaign with a fixture they didn’t want – a decider for seventh or eighth place.
Although Great Britain won the game 3-1 to avoid the wooden spoon, Patrick-Heselton was left bitterly disappointed – not just with the results on the pitch, but also the reaction he saw from some of his team-mates.
“They were just enjoying the occasion a bit too much I thought,” said the 29-year-old former QPR trainee. “I made my feelings known, but some people didn’t seem as disappointed with losing as I was.
“Maybe it’s because of my background in football that losing hurt me even more. I really hate losing, no matter what the game is. But in the Paralympics losing hurts even more. Maybe I wanted to win a little too much.
“I really thought we had a chance of challenging for a medal. But to be realistic there were four professional teams out there and you really can tell the difference. It’s no coincidence that the professional teams were the ones going home with the medals.”
Russia took gold by beating Ukraine in the final, after Iran thrashed Brazil to earn bronze. And although his big occasion obviously didn’t go to plan, Patrick-Heselton – who returned to work at his Totally Dynamic vehicle wrapping company in Newport Pagnell this week – did at least end the competition on a high.
“Seeing so many people turn up at 8.30am to watch that last game was incredible,” he said. “I know everyone keeps saying it, but the support really was amazing.
“I thought about what time those people must have left home to be there watching us so early. We wanted to put in a great display to end the competition, and we got the win we needed.
“Then it was just a case of going to the Closing Ceremony. It was fantastic to be there, and our duty to thank everyone for their support.
“Then I left the village on Monday morning and it’s back to work – and hundreds of emails! We have other competitions to prepare for soon but it will take a while to get over what happened.”