Sport Australian Steelers’ wheelchair rugby reign ends without a Tokyo medal

Australian Steelers’ wheelchair rugby reign ends without a Tokyo medal

Japan dominated Australia 60-52 in wheelchair rugby to claim the bronze medal at the Paralympics. Photo: AP
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Australian captain Ryley Batt is undecided about his playing future as the Steelers deal with the wreckage of their Tokyo Paralympics wheelchair rugby campaign.

The two-time defending Games gold medallists were no match for Japan on Sunday, torched 60-52 in their bronze medal game.

“We never should have lost by this much – never. We’re a better team than that,” Games debutant Richard Voris said.

It is first time since Athens 2004 that the Steelers have not won a Paralympics medal.

They won only one of their five games and are a shadow of the team that was touted as one of the key Australian medal hopes at the Tokyo Games.

“It’s been a fairly upsetting week. We knew we were up for some challenges (but) our results haven’t been the best,” Batt said.

“For once we can watch a gold medal game.

“It’s going to hurt watching every other team receive a medal and not us, but that’s just what happens when you’re not the best.

“We’ve still got a future, it’s not over. It’s just another three years away (to the Paris Paralympics).”

But 32-year-old Batt, also the Australian Paralympic team co-captain, will take time to make a call on whether he aims for Paris.

“I’ve definitely got gas left in the tank. I just want to take a few months out and get back to a life with my family and friends and enjoy it,” he said.

“I’ll be back and who knows, we might try to get that gold back in Paris in 2024.

“I’m going to take some time and think about life. Doesn’t mean I’m retiring, doesn’t mean I’m not.

“I got married in 2015 and I still haven’t had a honeymoon with my wife, so I think I owe her a honeymoon and a bit of a holiday.”

Batt scored a game-high 27 tries on Sunday, but otherwise the Steelers were no match for Japan.

Their campaign was disrupted with Michael Ozanne falling ill, but overall they are now off the pace.

“Times change. We have to adapt with it,” Voris said.

“We need to realise that, adapt and bring in new talent to keep up and stay ahead of it.”