After finishing fifth at last year’s World Championships in Birmingham, England, Great Britain’s men’s Wheelchair Basketball squad won its first European Championship since 1995 on Saturday (17 September) in Nazareth, Israel, while Germany picked up the crown on the women’s side.
Great Britain’s men’s team defeated Germany in the final, 76-65, as Terry Bywater put up 30 points and Simon Munn – who is hoping to compete at his sixth Paralympic Games next year – grabbed 15 rebounds in addition to putting up 30 points of his own.
Dirk Passiwan led Germany with 32 points, and while it was not enough to take the European title, Germany still did qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games with a second-place finish.
The British squad, which won bronze at the previous two Paralympic Games, had already automatically qualified for London 2012 as the host nation.
Spain, Poland, Turkey and Italy finished third through sixth in Nazareth, respectively.
France, the favourite entering the tournament after taking second at the World Championships last year, finished in a disappointing 11th place.
On the women’s side, Germany went undefeated at the Championships, beating the Netherlands in the gold-medal game, 48-42.
Marina Mohnen anchored the German squad, averaging 16.3 points per game in the Championships and notching 27 points in the final contest. Teammate Geshe Schunemann averaged 8.3 rebounds per game in the Championships and grabbed 12 boards in the finals.
In the bronze medal contest, Great Britain took care of France with a 60-47 victory.
Germany, the Netherlands and France all secured spots for the London 2012 Games, while Great Britain already automatically qualified as the host nation. Spain, Turkey and Israel failed to qualify, finishing fifth through seventh at the Championships, respectively.