Paralympics 2024: Ben Fox beats challenges to clinch wheelchair basketball place

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Wheelchair basketball player Ben Fox has a special reason for giving it everything as he chases Paralympic gold in Paris.

The 28-year-old has been selected for his second Games – three years after being part of the Great Britain squad that won bronze in Tokyo – but as well as impressing selectors, he had to face an additional challenge before his spot could be confirmed.

Fox was born with a group of birth defects known as Vater Syndrome and is missing his right leg; he has issues with his back and trachea, plus a congenital heart condition, having surgery in 2018 to replace his pulmonary valve.

It means he must have annual medical tests to assess if he can continue playing at the top level.

“It is a concern, but I try to remain positive and not think about it too much,” he tells BBC Sport.

“I’ve got a brilliant support network and the doctors do an incredible job making sure I am safe and not in danger.

“I am good and healthy and ready to go and grateful for everything that modern medicine has done for me.

“I know a time will come when the test result doesn’t give me the answer I want, but I will deal with that day when it comes.”

Fox, who hails from Swindon but is now based with top Spanish side Amiab Albacete, is one of seven returnees from the last Games to be selected for this summer’s event, which runs from 29 August to 8 September.

From a sporty family, he started off playing amputee football but as a teenager was spotted in a service station car park on his way to watch Arsenal play Manchester United by Great Britain’s then-assistant coach Sinclair Thomas, a former player, and asked if he had ever thought of trying wheelchair basketball.

“I had a day chair at that point but I was mainly using crutches to get around so I was a bit apprehensive about playing sport in a wheelchair, but I thought I would give it a go and I fell in love with it from the first session,” he explains.

“I always wanted to win but I remember when I started pushing the chair, I would get the worst blisters on my hands and have sore shoulders and arms, but that is something you get used to over the years and learn to put up with.

“Now 16 years later, I never would have thought it would be my full-time job and I would be representing my country but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

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