After 15 months, international wheelchair basketball is slowly and cautiously returning in Europe. Between 30 April – 2 May 2021, eight club teams from Germany, Spain, and Italy met at the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar, Germany, to compete in a modified version of the Champions Cup 2021.
The eight teams consisted of players from 16 nations who faced each other in the three-day knock-out tournament, officiated by 8 referees coming from 7 countries.
A showcase of impressive action and thrilling games culminated in a final between two German teams RSV Lahn Dill and RSB Thuringia Bulls. It was the hosts RSV Lahn Dill that came out on top after defeating the Bulls, 72-67.
Spanish teams CD Ilunion and Bidaideak Bilbao BSR fought it out for third place, with CD Ilunion prevailing, 95-71; fifth place went to BSR Amiab Albacete after they defeated their fellow countrymen BSR ACE Gran Canaria, 62-54, with Baskets96 Rahden claiming 7th place over GSD Porto Torres, 78-43.
Reflecting on the successful tournament, IWBF Europe President Walter Pfaller, said:
“The risk and courage of IWBF Europe with the implementation of the Champions Cup 2021 in Lahn-Dill has been rewarded. The bubble with a strict hygiene concept, ensured a “Corona Free” event which was organised by host club RSV Lahn-Dill under the direction of Andreas Joneck and his team through a high degree of professionalism including more than 1200 coronavirus tests.
“In the end there were only winners against the invisible opponent off and on court. We can say that IWBF Europe has set an example for our sport across whole world, we are back under baskets and one step closer to “normal” sport life.”
Special measures were prepared to ensure the Champions Cup proceeded with the health and safety of everyone participating the highest priority. Regular testing for coronavirus was mandatory for everyone involved and the participants formed a ‘bubble’ with no contact outside the hotel and arena. Following the strict hygienic concept, spectators were not allowed but they were able to follow the event online thanks to approximately 200 meters of cable installed for the livestream with game-by-game commentating.
IWBF Europe Chair of Competition Commission David Kingstone, said:
“I am grateful to all the clubs who took the opportunity to demonstrate that we can play again safely with well-considered covid protocols. Special thanks to RSV Lahn-Dill for taking the biggest risk of organising an event in difficult times. We hope to see all of the teams again at the EuroCup 2022.”
For full details, match results and statistics visit IWBF Europe’s Champions Cup page.