There aren’t many athletes who will have the opportunity to compete in two home multi-sport games.

However, wheelchair basketball player Gaz Choudhry will be one of a very limited number to experience this unique feat at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 having competed at the London 2012 Paralympics.

The inclusion of three-on-three basketball at Birmingham 2022 will be a first for elite players at the highest level of the game and it is something the Londoner is looking forward to massively.

“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting with the different format and will be a unique experience not just with the Commonwealth Games but the format itself being three on three. The Commonwealth Games have a really unique opportunity and wheelchair basketball being part of that is huge.”

Despite never been involved with a Commonwealths before, the Rio 2016 Paralympian got a taste of what to expect when he was recently involved in England’s virtual kit panel.

“It was such an honour,” he said. “Not even from the prospective of what we are actually tasked with to do but just how many great athletes that were on that call was remarkable. It was fantastic seeing the consultation process and how the ideas are getting to manifest into tangible kit is really interesting.”

Choudhry is centralised back in Sheffield when he is in England but plays his club basketball in Spain for Amiab Albacete and has spent lockdown over in Spain during this time, in what has been personally a very turbulent time on a personal level.

“I literally got injured the week before lockdown and had surgery to completely repair my wrist. But I basically had a broken arm for the whole of lockdown so it’s been up and down, getting the swelling down and thinking I can go again, then literally over the last two weeks with the MRI they figured out that I needed surgery. The only saving grace is that I got my puppy the week before lockdown so I’ve literally been spending all my time training him and we’ve been allowed to walk dogs which has been good.”

With lockdown lifted in Spain as the threat of Covid-19 slowly dissipating, Choudhry thoughts shift back to the immediate goals of representing Team England on home soil,

“Having gone through London 2012, when we worked so hard for it for so long. The further we move away from the home games the more I grow fond of them and how special they were.

“To really talk about what it means for an athlete to compete in a home games, until you have done it you are just talking in euphemisms. It’s almost lip service for how special it feels to compete in front of a home crowd and I’m sure Birmingham will be the same.”

Photo: CGE

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