The Dutch wheelchair basketball women have prolonged their European title at the European Para Championships in Rotterdam. In the practically sold out RTM Stage (1400 spectators) Great Britain was defeated: 58-36. Earlier this week both finalists already qualified in Ahoy for the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024.
The Netherlands initially struggled to take distance (13-9 after 1th quarter), but then did not waste any time. Via 28-15 at half time and 36-24 with one quarter to go, shooting guard Bo Kramer (top scorer with 20 points) took the team by the hand: 58-36.
National coach Gertjan van der Linden was a happy man after the medal ceremony. "We are going to enjoy this for a while. And then we change focus, on to the Paralympics." The coach was not particularly pleased with his team's shot percentage in the final. "But I was happy that the defense was good and that in the fourth quarter some excelled, which is also a fine observation." Earlier this tournament, the Orange were more dominant. "All in all, I saw enough starting points for the upcoming training period. At the end of September we will start the preparation and the focus will be completely on Paris, until then we can especially enjoy this success."
Top scorer Bo Kramer agreed with Van der Linden: “Of course we were nervous. In the end it’s a final and we all wanted to win. It wasn’t our best game and we made it ourselves very difficult, but playing in front of such a crowd, this atmosphere, this vibe… there’s just nothing else you can do but enjoying the game.”
The Dutch selection had already won the last six major tournaments in a row. They captured bronze at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games, then began an unprecedented string of successes. The 2017 European Championship, 2018 World Championship, 2019 European Championship, the 2021 Paralympic Games, the 2021 European Championship and the World Championship this summer were all won. Therefore, the team again is one of the big favorites at next year's Paralympic Games.
Mariska Beijer: “This is indeed our seventh title in a row. And we feel like we can even grow further. The sky is the limit. This is fantastic, I just don’t have more words for it. I am super happy.”
On Saturday, the final wheelchair basketball games at the European Para Championships will be played. The final between the men's teams of Great Britain and Spain, is scheduled at 17.30 hrs in Rotterdam Ahoy. Before that (start 15.00 hrs), the Netherlands will play for bronze against Germany.
The Dutch delegation also captured four gold medals at the European Para Championships on Friday. In the time trial along the Willem-Alexanderbaan in Zevenhuizen, the tandem Tristan Bangma/Patrick Bos recorded the fastest time on the 15 kilometers. Mark Mekenkamp (class H3), Mitch Valize (class H4) and Jennette Jansen (class H4) also grabbed gold. With 14 gold medals, the Netherlands leads the medal standings of the EPC2023.
The European Para Championships are being organized for the first time this year. From August 8 to 20, ten European title tournaments take place at five locations in Rotterdam.
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