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Aug 17 2023

Wheelchair Basketball players Spain and GB to European Championship final and Paralympic Games

The Spanish and British Wheelchair Basketball players have qualified for the final of the European Para Championships in Rotterdam. By reaching the European final, both teams also secured a ticket to the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris. The Netherlands was defeated in the semifinals by Spain: 57-76. Germany was beaten by Great Britain: 42-63.

Spain and the Netherlands held each other in an iron grip for three quarters. From 12-13, the Spaniards had a lead each time, sometimes even ten points. At halftime it was 29-36, after three quarters it was 46-48. The Netherlands never came alongside. Via 57-67 it eventually became 57-76. Spanish coach Abraham Carrion was ecstatic: “We had to miss the World Cup, we could not qualify for that. That caused us to train for two years very doggedly for this tournament. We really defended very well today and now we are going to Paris, it’s great.”

His Dutch colleague Cees van Rootselaar complimented the Spaniards: “They really played very well. We missed too many chances, where they kept scoring inside. Whether it was the tension, I cannot say. We played six very good games here, this one was less. It is an incredible disappointment, obviously we would have liked to have had the ticket to Paris by now. There is nothing left now but to recharge ourselves for the match for the bronze. And start making plans for the OKT, next spring in France.”

Earlier in the evening in Ahoy, Great Britain also managed to reach the final match at the European Para Championships. Germany was defeated: 63-42. Head coach Bill Johnson was overjoyed with the placement for Paris. “That was the main goal for today. Although due to the busy summer, with the World Cup still in mid-June, I really didn’t even have time to think about Paris.”

Johnson now hopes to win the final with the Brits. “We very much want to win this European Championship. At the last EC we didn’t get a fair chance because of covid. It would have been nice if we could have played against the Netherlands, but Spain is also a nice, strong team.”

The Wheelchair Basketball Men’s final at the European Par Championships is scheduled for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Rotterdam Ahoy.

On Friday evening (start 8 p.m.), the Dutch Wheelchair Basketball Women will face Great Britain in the final match. The orange selection of Gertjan van der Linden and the British opponent already secured the ticket for the Paralympic Games in Paris on Wednesday evening.

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