With 100 days to go until the start of this summer’s European Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Great Britain’s teams have urged the people of Worcestershire to turn out in force to help turn their Rio Paralympic dream into reality.
Great Britain’s Men and Women will compete against their continental counterparts at the University of Worcester Arena from August 28 to 6 September, with a total of 19 national teams bidding to secure the European title and a coveted qualifying place for next year’s Paralympic Games.
The European Wheelchair Basketball Championships forms part of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded #EveryRoadtoRio programme, which targets events that will support the nation’s athletes in their preparation and qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The GB Men are defending European champions, while the GB Women’s Team will be looking to build upon on the bronze medal they achieved in Frankfurt in 2013.
Fans are now able to purchase tickets for the Championships, which will see Great Britain’s Men take on Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, France and Germany in the initial pool stage, before potentially advancing to the knock-out phase of the tournament. The top five men’s teams will qualify for Rio 2016.
GB Men’s Head Coach Haj Bhania said: “There are never any easy games at a European Championships and, naturally, the focus of our training programme shifts as we enter the final few months of preparation. Over the next 100 days we combine training camps with tournaments in order to provide the optimal platform on which to launch our European Championships and Rio 2016 campaigns. Three years ago at London 2012, the home crowd was just phenomenal – to have that level of support again in Worcester would be invaluable.”
The women’s tournament will take a slightly different format, with each of the seven competing nations playing each other once in the initial round robin format, before the move into the knock-out stages of the Championship. The top four teams from the women’s Championships will qualify for next year’s Paralympic Games.
GB Women’s Head Coach Miles Thompson said: “The European Championship is the most important tournament within the Rio cycle. Everything transcends from there. A strong showing combined with the loyal support of the GB fan base is what is needed, and what will rocket us to our ultimate success.”
To deliver the event, British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB) has also teamed up with key partner the University of Worcester with invaluable support from the Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Further information on the Championships, and details of how to purchase tickets, can be found on the website, at www.euro2015.uk