The opening ceremony of the Men’s European Wheelchair Basketball Championship took place in the Aqua Zdrój Hall, Wałbrzych.

All 12 countries, who will fight for the title of European Champion between the August 30 to September 8, were introduced to the court.

Eugeniusz Kijewski, a member of the board of the Polish Basketball Association, gave thanks to Wałbrzych’s President, Roman Szełemej, while officially opening the European Championship. NBA and Polish professional basketball player, Marcin Gortat, was also part of the opening ceremony party.

Presentation Party at the opening of the 2019 Men’s European Championship. Credit – Jacek Zych / Dziennik Wałbrzych

Shortly after the ceremony, the hosts Poland took on Switzerland in the first game of the competition and put on a performance for the large home crowd who filled the arena.

Both teams exchanged baskets in the opening five minutes of the game, but a 12-2 run for the home side put them ahead by six at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was again close, Poland just edging it by two.

It was in the third quarter that Poland’s scoring power proved too much for Switzerland as they blew them away, 28-10.

With the game all but over, both teams rotated their benches into the game in the fourth and tied the quarter 17-17. Poland opened their European Championship with a victory, 79-53.

Switzerland’s Philipp Häfeli led all scorers with 21 points, whist four of Poland’s starting five, Krzysztof Bandura, Piotr Łuszyński, Dominik Mosler, and Marcin Balcerowski all hit double digits.

Tomorrow will see the first day of full action with six games taking place over two courts starting at 2pm (local time).

The 2019 Men’s European Championship acts as the wheelchair basketball zonal qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the semi-finalist teams claiming the four available spots.

Main Image Credits: R.Burdek