The GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team are celebrating after their victory to earn their fifth consecutive European bronze medal!
With their target in mind of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the Great Britain Women’s team headed out onto court inspired to put in their best performance for the finals of the 2015 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.
The team struck bronze by convincingly rising to a gritty challenge thrown down by France, and defeated them with a 69-39 win to successfully defend their 2013 bronze medal.
The European Wheelchair Basketball Championships were held this year from the 28th August to the 6th September at the University of Worcester Arena. The championships form part of the UK Sport’s National Lottery funded ‘#EveryRoadtoRio programme’, that supports UK athletes as they prepare and qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Wheelchair Championships saw 19 teams from across 12 nations compete, with the top five men’s teams and top four women’s teams earning their Rio 2016 Paralympic place.
Our GB Women’s team successfully earned both a place in Brazil and the European Championship semi finals achieving 4 out of 6 wins in the group stage of the event, beating Turkey (76-23), France (79-37), Italy (69-10), and Spain (54-50), and only losing out to Germany (39-53) and the Netherlands (52-64).
The bronze medal game saw a nail-biting start with the opening shots not fall for either teams. However, GB forged ahead to be first on the scoreboard after Jordanna Bartlett skilfully managed to sink a fantastic shot (2-0).
France came back to level the game on 2-2, but the GB Women proved too strong, and took it to a 12-2 lead at the end of the opening 10 minutes.
Great Britain continued to put the pressure on, and inspired by their early lead, continued to push forwards in the second quarter, playing their way to a 21 point lead within five minutes. France came back hard to score some points, but in the end Great Britain edged out their opponents by 27-11 to enter half time with a 39-13 advantage.
The third quarter, and the GB Women rallied once again to dominate play at both ends of the court increasing their lead by 59-21 with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
France dug in and put up a gritty performance, but in the final quarter the GB Women’s Team closed out a 69-39 victory, ensuring the nation’s fifth consecutive Women’s European Bronze Medal.
In a press interview with Head Coach Miles Thompson, he said: “Our goal was to get to the final, so it’s disappointing to come in third. But this team, the athletes, are so strong in spirit and the way they approach all the hard work that I couldn’t be prouder and I couldn’t be more optimistic about Rio.”
The Championships have been a result of a collaborative partnership between the British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB), the University of Worcester, with support from Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Local Enterprise.