In a hard-fought final between the teams from Belgium and Sweden, Belgian athletes came out on top as they won 49-46 at the Wheelchair Rugby European Championships 2009.
Coming in third place was the German team, as they beat Great Britain 47-43. Poland took fifth place, as they beat Finland 47-41, and Switzerland took seventh place as they beat Austria 37-33. Finishing in ninth place was host country Denmark, as they beat Ireland 47-41.
The top scorer of the European Championships was Belgian athlete Lars Mertens.
As a result of the Championships, the teams to represent Europe in next year’s World Championships will be Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, Poland and Finland. The Wheelchair Rugby World Championships 2010 will take place from 17-26 September in Vancouver, Canada.
The Wheelchair Rugby European Championships took place on two courts from 14-17 October in Hillerod, Denmark. A total of 12 teams competed in Denmark, including Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Sweden and Ireland.
Wheelchair Rugby was developed in Canada during the 1970s by athletes with quadriplegia. In Atlanta at the 1996 Paralympic Games, it was presented as a demonstration sport, and was officially included on the Paralympic Programme at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. As of 2009 the sport is practiced in 25 countries, and is under development in at least three others.