It has been a dramatic eight days of world-class competition in Rotterdam at the 2019 European Championships as the GB Women’s Team claimed a historic silver medal and secured their place at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The GB side completed the tournament’s pool stage qualifying for the semi-finals having accrued three wins and two losses, one to Germany and a second to hosts The Netherlands.
The GB squad proved their grit, when they faced Germany in the semi-finals two days after suffering a tough pool game loss to the team (48-61). In what was undoubtedly one of the most contested games of the Championships, the relentless GB side dug deep and delivered an exceptional game of wheelchair basketball against a determined German team. Never once giving up, or allowing the German team to take a clear lead, the GB women claimed the game and their place in the final after slamming down an exceptional fourth quarter of wheelchair basketball completing the game 49-48.
Ahead of the tournament the GB Women were united and very clear in their ambition to qualify for a European Championship final, a feat never before achieved by a British female team. Building on their history making success of a 2018 World Championships silver medal, the team were certain that the European final was not just possible but inevitable. Their unyielding fight during the semi-final is without doubt testament to this.
The Final saw GB once again face long-time foe The Netherlands. The GB team will have taken confidence from their strong pool game performance against the side, which saw the British side often lead the game. However, it was not to be with a strong Netherlands side claiming the win (65-52) despite a strong fourth quarter by the British side.
The GB women have once again made the British Wheelchair Basketball family proud as well as drawing new fans who tuned in for the dramatic semi-final and final on the BBC.
Celebrating the silver medal and the Paralympics qualification, British Wheelchair Basketball’s CEO Lisa Pearce commented:
“This team is simply exceptional. Every time I watch them play I see them leave their heart and soul on the court. This team has made history at every major since 2016, building upon success after success after success. They are changing the face of the game of women’s wheelchair basketball and they are a team to be feared as we head into Tokyo.”
GB’s #15 Robyn Love summed up the feeling amongst the squad and added:
“Incredibly proud – it’s hard to put into words at this moment about how I feel. When you do something you’ve never done before you can’t quite describe how that feels.”
About Wheelchair Basketball
Wheelchair Basketball is a fast-paced and fast-growing sport that allows non-disabled and disabled people to compete together in its domestic leagues and competition. It is a sport of skill and physicality on the court and provides competitors with the tools to become more resilient and independent in their everyday lives. In a recent survey, 78% of members said that wheelchair basketball has had a positive impact on their mental health, and 21% of all national league players are non-disabled.
There are currently 17,000 people playing the sport in the UK, with a potential participation growth of up to 70,000.
At elite level, the Great Britain men’s senior team have won eight Paralympic medals, they are the current World Champions (2018) and have been European champions three times in a row. The GB women’s senior team are current World Championship silver medallists and hold European Bronze medals six times in a row. The GB junior men are current U23 World Champions. The GB Junior women are current U25 World Championship Bronze medallists, 2015 U25 World Champions and also two time U24 European Champions.
Britain has the largest women’s league in the world and has experienced a 50% increase in university participation in the past few years.
To find out more about British Wheelchair Basketball please visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk.
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