They may be the reigning U23 World Champions, but the German U23 team know it will be quite a feat to retain their title. We spoke with Germany’s Marcel Gerber to find out how he is feeling ahead of the U23 World Championships.

20-year-old Marcel has been playing wheelchair basketball since he was 10 years old and currently plays for his home club ASV Bonn. This will be his first time competing on the World stage. “It’s a big honour for me to represent my country at the U23 World Championships and I’m proud to get this chance.

“As a young player, it´s very important to participate at a World level because you can improve a lot. For many of us it will be a career highlight, however for a few players they can use such a big tournament to make the next step to the senior team. I think playing in Toronto will be a great chance for everyone.”

The 2.5 classified player continued to explain how the team have been preparing for the tournament and what their hopes are, “First we had some training camps where we worked hard to get it together. After that we played some friendly games against France, Austria and Canada for preparation. Furthermore we´ve had many team meetings to become a stronger team on and off court. All in all, it has been a successful time and we feel ready to fight for our aims in Toronto.

“Germany are the titleholders, however we only finished third in the European Championship in Italy this year so we know it is going to be a tough tournament for us, but we want to fight for a medal.

“We have a lot respect for every team who made it to Toronto! Some teams we don´t know but France and Great Britain are really strong, Canada and Turkey too. I think we´ll get some awesome games.”

Finally, what is Marcel most looking forward to about competing at the U23 World Championships, he said, “I’ve never been to Canada so I don´t know what to expect or how it is going to be, but as we have already experienced in Germany when the Canadians visited, they are one of most friendly and hospitable people in the world. I hope we will have an unforgettable time!”

Full German U23 Team list

Image courtesy of Team Germany