After having no personal expectations heading into Rio 2016, Robyn Love hopes her wheelchair basketball team can replicate recent success and secure a medal in Tokyo, writes Nicola Kenton.
The 29-year-old was part of the Great Britain women’s team who finished fourth in Brazil, but last year saw the squad clinch silver at the World Championships.
Love found out about the sport after a friend pointed it out on TV during the 2012 Paralympic Games and after playing for the first time, she quickly rose through the Great Britain ranks.
And with Tokyo less than a year away, the Edinburgh Napier University graduate can’t wait to thrive on the energy of the crowd at a Paralympic Games.
“Rio was unreal. I had no expectations going in, so the biggest thing for me was the noise of the crowd,” said Love, speaking at a Sainsbury’s store in Prestwick.
“We were lucky we got to play against Brazil in Rio, and I would be shouting to teammates one metre away and you couldn’t hear anything.
“They were getting behind everyone, getting up and dancing. For me I absolutely loved having that atmosphere at every single game and I cannot wait for Tokyo.
“I think the crowd are going to be amazing and the tournament is going to be amazing and I really feed off that energy."
Fantastic day @sainsburys Prestwick! They really put me to work ⬇️🍕☕— Robyn Love (@Robyn_Love13) September 22, 2019
Enjoyed talking to staff & customers about the partnership between @sainsburys & @ParalympicsGB 😁 Hopefully we have made fans for life!#Tokyo2020#Paralympics pic.twitter.com/Vuo7fl311O
After a series of bronze medals at the Europeans, this year was the first time the team broke that duck and reached the final leaving with a silver medal.
Love, who is originally from Ayr, is based in Manchester and believes the team have their sights set on achieving a podium finish in Tokyo.
“My personal goal is to get better, and I want to continue to build on my game,” added Love, who was helping to promote Sainsbury’s role as longest-standing supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all.
“In the run up to Rio, you get 12 players in the squad but usually only seven or eight will play and I wasn’t getting played in the warm up tournaments.
“I kept trying and trying, it was literally the one before the tournament where they started me, and we beat Germany.
“Then in Rio I was in the starting five in the first game against Canada and for me that was an unreal experience.
“I expect more of myself because I’m one of the key players in the team now. I was one of the top-scorers in the Europeans against the Germans and the Dutch.
“I think for me that’s the most important thing but for the team we want to get on that podium in Tokyo there’s no doubt in my mind.
“Whatever colour it is we’re yet to decide our goal but a World silver and a European silver, it certainly would be nice to get an upgrade – we’ll see.”
Sainsbury’s is the longest-standing supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers live well for less has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/