Big Brother is watching

Kieron Achara.
Kieron Achara.
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Sibling rivalry provides an added incentive to Kieron Achara’s Olympic basketball ambitions.

The former Clark Eriksson Fury centre returned home this week ahead of the final stage of selection for Team GB and met up with his former club for a training session.

If he reaches the final squad for London at next month’s selection summit he’s keen to “at least get as close” to brother Idris’ silver medal from the Special Olympics in 2000.

Achara laughed: “Of course I’ve got to get close to my brother - what little brother wouldn’t?

“Idris took a silver medal back then, and if I could even get close to that I’d be absolutely delighted. It’s definitely a chance to match him!

“But getting chosen and making the final selection would be a great achievement in itself - the Games are going to be a very special occasion.”

Achara has spent time in the USA since leaving Fury, and is now plying his trade in Spain with Manresa, via a spell in Italy.

He’s heading back across the Atlantic early next month to catch a head-start on his final squad rivals.

He told The Falkirk Herald: “I will go over and get acclimatised.

“The selection camp is in Houston, Texas, so I will go over a week before and meet up with my old university, see some friends and get used to the time difference and things like that and just adjust to the surroundings to give myself the best possible chance of being picked.

“The Olympics is a big deal - the World Championships are probably the bigger tournament in basketball terms but obviously the Olympics is a global event - and all the more special being in London and my family having the opportunity to come and see me - hopefully - in action.”

Achara’s family have a basketballing pedigree. Kieron is from Stirling and brother Central Jaguar Idris has also represented Team GB, as has his mum at under-18 level.

But Achara pays a lot of credit to his ‘other’ family - at Fury - for earning him the platform to compete at the Olympics.

“John Bunyan, my coach at Fury, took me under his wing.

“JB taught me a lot more than just how to play as a big guy, in the centre. He improved me technically and that’s a big part of why I have developed to the stage I have.

“I’m playing in Spain because of the additional skills I learned at Fury.

“I’ve been back to see them this week and had a training session. It’s great having the ability to come back and be welcome at training. It is like a family at Fury.

“The games kept me ticking over ahead of the selection camp.”

If Achara is picked he will face team-mates from Brazil who have been included in the same pool with Team GB .

“I’m like anyone, I want to play on the biggest stage possible. My team-mates do too.

“It would be fun to play against them rather than with them. That’s something special, playing at the Olympics with a lot of your family watching and playing against your friends. Not many people do that.”