The team from Germany won against Switzerland 44-41 today, in the first game of the Wheelchair Rugby European Championships 2009, which have officially begun in Hillerod, Denmark.
The Opening Ceremony, which took place on 12 October, had International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) representative Richard Allcroft welcoming the participating teams in the tournament. After the Organizing Committee was thanked, the 12 teams were presented along with the pronouncing of the players’ oath by the Danish Captain Bo Petersen. The officials’ oath was also presented by Sports Manager at the Danish Sports Organization for the Disabled (DHIF) Gregers Lehrmann Bruun.
Karl Vilhelm Nielsen, President of the DHIF and IPC Governing Board Member, was also at the event, and wished the teams good luck in their competitions.
A total of 12 teams are currently competing in Denmark, including Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Sweden and Ireland. The competition will take place over the next four days, finishing on 17 October.
Wheelchair Rugby was developed in Canada during the 1970's 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.