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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Basketball

Rotterdam 2019: Four teams earn qualification for Tokyo

Great Britain face Germany for a place in the final against Netherlands or Spain 05 Jul 2019
Imagen
British female wheelchair basketball player makes a move with the ball while a Dutch player turns to defend her

Helen Freeman and the British squad will try to upset reigning world champions the Netherlands at the 2019 European Championships

ⒸSteffie Wunderl
By Stuart Lieberman and IPC

“I think it would be unwise to just focus on one team when there are several world-class teams, but to beat them and others it will mean meeting our potential"

Germany, Great Britain, hosts Netherlands and Spain have all earned qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. But the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball European Championships has more to come this weekend in Rotterdam.

For the British squad, the mission now is to go one better than last year’s World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, when they claimed silver - the first time Great Britain’s women’s team won a Worlds medal in the sport.

“Our main goal is to qualify for the Paralympic Games, and then we are aiming to make the final and hopefully become European Champions,” said Charlotte Moore, a 1.0-player who originally made a name for herself after carrying the London 2012 Olympic Torch.

A gold medal in Rotterdam would be a milestone, but the preliminary matches have not got their way.

Great Britain lost to the Dutch 61-52 on Tuesday, the same team they lost to in the Championship final in Hamburg last year. The Brits then fell 61-48 to Germany on Thursday.

Now they have to face the Germans again to earn a place in Sunday’s final. The Netherlands face Spain in the other semi-final.

France and Turkey round off the group of six playing in the tournament.

“I think it would be unwise to just focus on one team when there are several world-class teams, but to beat them and others it will mean meeting our potential,” said Helen Freeman, who is in her sixth European Championships at just 29 years old.

[There’s] no magic formula, just trust and hard work on the court. I have a lot of confidence in my teammates abilities and know that when we play with the grit and determination we pride ourselves on, we can win.”

Freeman has been around the block enough to know how to stay focused mentally if the British do advance to the medal round.

“I think when you’ve played for a while, the game tends to seem slower, so I try to use this to put my teammates in good positions and get them easier shots,” she said of being an experienced player.

“It also helps being able to communicate through situations that might have happened before so that my teammates feel most comfortable going out being the best versions of themselves.”

More information on the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball European Championships is available on the event website.