The Netherlands women’s wheelchair basketball team were crowned World Champions after they defeated Great Britain, 56-40, in the final, held on Saturday 25th August in Hamburg, Germany.
A strong start by the Netherlands saw them push out to eleven-point lead at halftime, 31 – 20. Great Britain rallied in the third drawing the game back to a four-point game, but the Netherlands composed themselves to stop the Brit’s comeback and win the final quarter 18-8 to take home the gold medal.
Despite the loss, the silver medal is still a major feat for the British team, who made history to be the first British women’s team to win a medal.
In the bronze medal game, it was intense as hosts Germany matched up against China, the game was close throughout with China holding the biggest lead of the game with a nine-point advantage just before halftime. A rejuvenated Germany came out in the second half drawing the gap and took the lead. Both teams went basket for basket right up until the final seconds of the game and it was a three-second violation in the key called on China that meant they weren’t able to take the final offensive shot of the game and gave Germany the win, 44 -43, and the bronze medal.
Germany’s Head coach, Martin Otto, said, “I always believed we could win the game. I appealed to the strengths of my players dur
ing the half-time break. We’ve changed things up, for example the number 6 and the number 10, who scored a lot, we put our 4.5-point players against them and took them out of the game. The audience got to see an exciting game – perhaps a bit too exciting for us. “
The other women’s games of the day saw Canada prevail over Americas Zone rivals USA, 68 -53, to finish 5th in the competition. Whilst in the 7th/8th playoff game it became a very emotional and meaningful victory for Spain, as they overcame their European counterparts France, 43-34, to finish in their ever-highest finish of 7th at a World Championships.
Canada’s Head Coach, Marc-Antoine Ducharme, said, “We had the game always under control and were able to give each player some play time game time, to balance the six new players while looking forward to Tokyo 2010. It was important that everyone was able to gain some experience in the squad.”
Three classification games of the men’s competition also took place on the penultimate day of the World Championships. The most important men’s game of the day was the 7th – 8th classification game, where Argentina defeated Turkey, 77-68. The win for Argentina meant they secured the Americas Zone the last qualifying spot for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, to take their zone quota up to three spots available.
In the 9th – 10th play-off, the fans were treated to another spectacular showcase of wheelchair basketball, as Japan came from 10 points behind to narrowly defeat the Netherlands by just one point, 55-54, to finish ninth. Whilst the opening game of the day saw Italy defeat Canada, 70-66, In the 11th – 12th playoff game.
For all results and more information click here.
Photos and quotes courtesy of Rollstuhlbasketball WM 2018 Hamburg – MSSP Michael Schwartz / Uli Gasper / Steffi Wunderl.