IWBF

28th August - 6th September

Worcester, England

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Great Britain Men’s wheelchair basketball team crowned European Champions for third time in a row

The GB men were defending their European title for the third consecutive time against a tough and physical Turkish side, looking to avenge their defeat from two years ago in Frankfurt.

It was a close opening quarter but it was Great Britain’s outstanding defence that caused the Turk’s problems as they struggled to breakthrough and some precision shooting from GB ensured they finished the first quarter in control 21 - 13.

The Turkish coach, Harman Yazicioglu, altered his tactics and the new line up kept the second quarter tight losing it by just one point and kept the deficit to just nine points at half time.

However the strength and depth of the GB team proved too much for the Turks and GB had response for all the Turkish units.  The shots weren’t dropping for the Turkish, including their star player, Oscar Gurbulak, and by the end of the third GB held a comfortable lead of 19 points going into the final period.

The fourth quarter saw GB to dominate and whilst GB Head Coach, Haj Bhania, rotated his bench they continued to extend their lead with an incredible performance and maintained their crown in front of a full packed arena!

GB Men’s Head Coach, Haj Bhania said, “It’s absolutely fantastic to win the European Championships in such style. To come out and win with performance like that against a very strong Turkish team was outstanding. I have to give all the guys credit they played with great spirit and determination when it mattered and it was a brilliant team effort.

“Although we were slight favourites coming into the tournament, we had some tough losses early on but we’ve got better throughout the tournament and we learnt from those games. Winning the European Championships for the third consecutive time was never going to be easy and the boys had a lot of pressures on their shoulders coming into this tournament so to get the result has been amazing!  

“We have to build on this for Rio and although we will have a couple of months off, we know we have a lot of work to do to go and achieve anything in Rio. The competition is even tougher on the World stage and teams will be out to beat us!”

“It’s been a brilliant tournament and a big thanks must go out to the event staff, volunteers, officials and all the supporters who have come along and really got behind the team! . 

GB’s MVP of the game, Terry Bywater said, “It’s an amazing feeling to win the title for the third time! Everyone is just absolutely over the moon – we knew it was going to be touch against Turkey as they are one of the best teams here but we just had a great, great performance tonight.

“It’s was always going to take a hell of a team to go unbeaten in this tournament, as you’ve seen Turkey were unbeaten until today and so were Germany unbeaten until the semi-final, that’s how close European Basketball is but it all depends on the last game and we got it done.

“We are a bunch of amazing guys that have got a ridiculous amount of fight, determination and passion and just never give up. We lost against Germany and Poland and we picked ourselves up to win a gold medal that’s the type of team we are!

“We are back in training next month for Rio and going to look for a medal out there – we’ve got the team to do it and I’m sure the world are going to be scared of us!”