WITH the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games now just four days away, North-East wheelchair basketball star Terry Bywater cannot wait to have his wife and young son court-side as he performs on the biggest stage of his life.

After suffering from a serious injury to his wrist, Redcar's Bywater looked like missing out on the Paralympics earlier in the season. But with a rapid recovery now completed, the Teessider can reflect on the extent to which the injury has gave him extra inspiration for the Games.

Bywater said: "Being injured, in a stupid way, had a positive effect on me. The hunger got greater and greater."

Bywater will compete in his fourth Games later this week, and after consecutive bronze medals in Athens and Beijing, he is hoping this could be Team GB's chance to take home something better.

He said: "I truly believe that we have a great chance. With the way that the game is at the moment it's really hard and we just have to take it game by game."

Competing in four Paralympic games is no mean feat, but the two-time medallist hopes to have more in him.

He said: "I could possibly have a couple more Games in me. The game is getting harder so, body willing, I will have more."

The 29-year-old will be one of the more experienced members in the British squad and with a handful of youngsters making their Paralympic debut, there will be pressure on the likes of Bywater and Simon Munn, with nine Paralympics between them, to lead by example.

Bywater's experience will be crucial, but the North-Easterner is happy to have so many talented youngsters alongside him in the squad.

He said: "There is added pressure on the older players, but the youngsters coming in have witnessed World Championships so are going in with their eyes open.

"I think we have a good mixture with a few newcomers and their excitement and hunger will give an extra boost."

After winning silver in the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester earlier this year, the British team have built up a strong head of steam ahead of the Games.

Ranked at number two in the world, Team GB will face stiff competition from the world number ones Australia, however the hosts will hope to draw on their recent experience of competing down under in the Rollers World Challenge against Australia and Japan.

Bywater said: "We've just got back from Australia playing against Australia and Japan. We got to the final and got beat by Australia by six points, which is great because they are the best team in the world."

The realisation that Australia are not are unstoppable has filled the team with confidence. Team GB and Australia have been drawn in separate groups, which will mean that they cannot meet until the knock-out stages.

The global nature of wheelchair basketball forces Bywater to travel extensively, so being back in his home country for the games this summer is a considerable boost.

He said: "It's an absolute dream. Since the bid was made it's all that has been on my mind. I am honoured and proud to be taking part."

Bywater's three-year-old son, Benjamin, will get his first taste of the Paralympics, which his father is delighted about.

He said: "Having my wife and son there is just a dream and playing in my own ackyard is fantastic. He (his son) loves the game."

Bywater's wheelchair basketball campaign begins with a group game against Germany on Thursday.