Tokyo Paralympics: Mum and dad cheer on Mike and the Wheel Blacks from Ashburton

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New Zealand paralympian Mike Todd. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand paralympian Mike Todd. Photo: Getty Images
Ashburton couple, Tony and Christine Todd, have been glued to their television set and watching on proudly as their son Mike rolls out to play for the Wheel Blacks at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Mike and seven other wheelchair athletes in the team made their paralympic debut against the United States yesterday.

The Wheel Blacks put up a good fight but went down 63-35 to the US, who are ranked No 2 in the world, in their opening match.

On Friday night at 11pm (NZ time), they will play Canada before contesting the classification round on Saturday to decide who finishes between fifth and eighth.

The Wheel Blacks are out of medal contention after their second successive defeat against Great Britain last night.

Mike, 44, was born with charcot-marie-tooth disease, a neurological condition that effects all limbs.

He was introduced to wheelchair rugby in 2008 and has represented Canterbury ever since.

He made his Wheel Blacks debut against Australia in 2015 and is heavily involved with the administration of Canterbury Wheelchair Rugby.

Tony Todd said he and Christine were immensely proud of their son and would be watching the games on television and cheering Mike and the team on.

Tony said the Wheel Blacks were up against top seeds USA in the first game, which was a tough first up encounter, and would then take on Great Britain and Canada in pool games.

The games will be featured on TVNZ Duke.

The Todds have followed their son’s on court exploits around the country and have also travelled to Australia, Japan and South Korea to watch him play.

In South Korea they saw the Wheel Blacks qualify for the Tokyo Games.

The Wheel Blacks have appeared at Paralympics in Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

The team won medals at all of them and a gold medal in Athens.

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