27 May 2011

Paralympic World Cup: Brits win wheelchair basketball gold

Great Britain’s women’s wheelchair basketball team take their first BT Paralympic World Cup title with a 63-52 victory over Germany, while the men’s team beat Brazil for bronze.

Paralympic World Cup: Brits win wheelchair basketball gold

GB women’s team claimed their first international title in Manchester after their victory over Germany, whom they had already defeated in the earlier stages of the tournament.

The British men’s wheelchair team also won medals, securing bronze with a 63-43 victory over Brazil.

The women’s team busted open the game late in the second quarter when they used an 8-0 run to go 36-21 up at the break, and they never looked back against a team ranked second in the world.

Star player was Helen Freeman who led the way with 22 points while teenager Amy Conroy managed 16. In a strong team display Laurie William also finished in double figures with 10.

“We always knew we could do this, it was going to be when,” said coach Garry Peel.

This gives us the confidence to beat anybody. Helen Freeman

“Last year at the World Championships when we played the Americans and the Canadians we were very close to them, but now we’re going past them.

“It was about belief and confidence and today’s game will give the team that.”

GB women had never beaten Germany prior to this week, but ended the tournament with two victories over them after a 58-53 victory on Tuesday in the round-robin stages.

Freeman, who has emerged as a team leader since competing as a youngster in Beijing, added: “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It’s my first gold medal so I don’t even know how I’m feeling.

“They are the second-ranked team in the world so this gives us the confidence to beat anybody.”

Britain end the tournament with three wins and only one defeat, a 43-42 loss to Japan yesterday after they had led almost the entire game.

Captain Claire Strange was emotional as she reflected on her team’s success.

“We’ve just worked really, really hard for 10 months on top of a great performance at the world championships last year, so belief is coming into it for us,” she said.

“Yesterday was a bit of a blip, but every game here has taken us in the direction we want to go, climbing up that mountain to getting a medal in London.”