Day 2 of the BT Paralympic World Cup saw the GB women’s Wheelchair Basketball team post a superb win over Germany to top the leader board.
There was also good news for the GB men’s team as they defeated Brazil to capture their first win of the competition, with an emphatic score of 76-43.
The women’s home side, who have never won the BT Paralympic World Cup title, started well in the first half of their game but had to hold their defence in the final minutes of the closing stages against a resilient German side, before securing a five point win of 58-53 points.
Helen Freeman, currently in Manchester after taking a break from a sports scholarship at the University of Illinois in America, was the top scorer for GB once again, with 21 points.
Helen Turner and Claire Strange were also in fine shooting form as the team worked hard in the final quarter to bring back a one point deficit at the end of the third, against a team they had never beaten before.
Sarah McPhee was making her debut appearance for the team and said, “What a game to make my first ever appearance for GB. I loved every second of it, I was excited and nervous going into the game but am thrilled with the result. I’ve only been playing Wheelchair Basketball for a year but it’s such a fun sport and I feel really privileged to be part of a good team and we are only getting better.”
Coach Garry Peel was predictably delighted with the win and said, “I am extremely happy, it is the first time we have ever beaten Germany. The game plan was to stop them defensively, which is exactly what the girls did and they played perfectly.”
The GB men then faced Brazil in a battle they needed to win to stay in contention for the gold medal match.
Strong scoring from Matt Sealy and Dan Highcock saw GB dominate the first half and they went into the break with a twenty point lead over the South American nation, who are making their debut appearance at the BT Paralympic World Cup as they look ahead to hosting the Paralympics in 2016.
The second half saw GB continually further their lead and ten out of the team’s twelve players posted points on the scoreboard in a game where the defence came together to work well against Brazil and the offence sink some fantastic baskets.
Top scorer with 18 points, Matt Sealy, commented: “I was really pleased with the game today and I got my head really into it quickly and then everything else seemed to fall into place and I was delighted to be top scorer. We took on board what went wrong yesterday and we have tried to improve on it and hopefully tomorrow will be another strong game.”
GB head coach Murray Treseder was pleased with the way his team played and said: “Defensively today we caused mayhem and it’s what we needed to do as they had a size advantage on us. It was great to be able to get every one of our players on the court and for our young 16-year-old Harry Brown to have some time playing. We were much better than yesterday and let’s hope tomorrow we can be even better.”
World bronze medallists France, also making their debut at the BT Paralympic World Cup, defeated the Paralympic silver medallists Canada in the other men’s game of the day.
The French team continued their high having beaten GB in their opener yesterday and today’s score of 60-56 points saw them post a win against Canada for the first time in the team’s history.
There was also a thrilling finale to the women’s Canada versus Japan match, with the game going into double overtime before Japan came out on top with a score of 73-70.
Today’s results see France top the leader board in the men’s competition, followed by GB and Canada tied in second place, with Brazil in fourth. The GB women’s team are sitting in pole position after day two, with Germany, Japan and Canada in second, third and fourth spots respectively.
Day three of the BT Paralympic World Cup will see the GB men hoping to defeat Canada in the opening match of the day, before the women’s team take on Japan. France will then face Brazil in the second men’s match, with the German women against Canada in the final game of the day.
For the first time in the event history, Sitting Volleyball will also make an appearance tomorrow as the GB team take on the Netherlands in an exhibition match.
With the team challenge BT Paralympic World Cup trophy on the horizon, Wheelchair Basketball is a crucial part of the competition as GB take on teams from Europe, the Americas and the Rest of the World, the latter defending their title. No points will be posted until finals day on Thursday, with Athletics on Friday and Swimming on Saturday adding to the scores to determine the overall winners.
The BT Paralympic World Cup is the largest annual international multi-sport competition in elite disability sport. BT is entering its third year as title sponsor, in a sponsorship which runs up to and includes the 2012 BT Paralympic World Cup.
Manchester has committed for the seventh consecutive year to hosting elite international athletes competing across Wheelchair Basketball, Athletics and Swimming. In addition, Boccia and Sitting Volleyball will be represented for the first time, with international matches staged during the competition.