Rotterdam, Netherlands, will be the battle ground among the top women’s wheelchair basketball teams when the European Championships tip off Sunday, featuring the three World Championship medallists.
Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands are all medal favourites, having occupied the podium at the 2018 Worlds in Hamburg, Germany.
The Dutch squad carry the most weight as the reigning world champions, plus owning home court advantage.
Not much changed from their Hamburg 2018 winning roster, with scoring machine Mariska Beijer, talented ballhandler Bo Kramer and veteran leader Carina de Rooij all part of the team that guided the Netherlands to their first major gold medal in programme history.
But Great Britain may find their break this time around.
The Worlds silver medallists have finished in third place for six straight European Championships. Similar to the Dutch, the British side have remained almost intact from the 2018 Worlds which secured a historic silver medal – the team’s first Worlds medal.
Germany will try to regain their regional title from their Dutch rivals, and also regain their top status after finishing with bronze at their home Worlds. As London 2012 Paralympic champions and Rio 2016 silver medallists, the programme is aiming to keep up with the rising powers of their other regional rivals.
France, Spain and Turkey complete the six-team tournament.
The top four finishers will earn qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, making the stakes even higher in Rotterdam.
Spain defeated France for seventh place at the 2018 Worlds. Turkey earned their promotion to the Division A Championships after winning their Division B edition last September in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. The nation had never sent a women’s team to a Paralympics.
The Women’s Wheelchair Basketball European Championships runs until 7 July, and more information is available on the event website.