Dutch women continued their invincible run and defended their title in style at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 on Tuesday evening.
The Paralympic champions defeated China 57-34, in a repeat of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games finals result, stamping their dominance in women’s wheelchair basketball, at the World Trade Centre Halls.
The Netherlands women were off to a strong start, even came with a clinical show in the second quarters as they entered the half-time leading 31-17.
Said an emotional Mariska Beijer, who top scored for the Netherlands with 22 points, “I am very happy. First, I was excited to make it to six finals in a row –Worlds, European C’ships and Paralympic and then win the six titles in a row. This is unbelievable. We want to continue this winning momentum.
“We had a great preparation. We had a clear game plan and executed; we made the basketball drop in the basket and we won.”
“For me, personally it was quite hard to be here and to be fit as I was sick last year. It took me around 11 months to be back in action, first quarantine and then rehabilitation. So, this is a special win,” the experienced Beijer said.
For China, Suiling Lin had a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) but still it fell short. Despite the loss, China however took home their first ever medal at a Worlds and won a lot of hearts among the crowd.
USA women end 13-year wait
USA women also brought home some cheers settling for the bronze defeating Germany 57-42, thanks to Rose Marie Hollermann’s double – double (14 points, 12 rebounds).
“We are ecstatic about this team. We are very happy; almost forgotten that this medal has come after a long time. 13 years is a long time that we have won a medal at Worlds and the core group of girls have spent the time together. Great way to finish the tournament,” said a joyful Christina Schwab, USA head coach.
“We made a few adjustments, we put a press on the Germans, something we haven’t done before. It shows that we have a spark in our defence. The girl really executed the plans so well. I am so proud of them,” said the coach on the match.
A closing ceremony was held after the medal matches, attended by Chairman of the Championships Thani Juma Berregad, IWBF President Ulf Mehrens, Director of the Championships and Asian Paralympic Committee President Majid Al Usaimi, besides various prominent names in the UAE.
Around 350 players from 20 nations, representing 28 teams (16 men, 12 women) took part in these 12-day World Championships, which witnessed amazing matches highlighted by intensity, grit and determination, at the World Trade Centre Halls that concluded last evening.
USA 67 – Great Britain 66
Bronze Medal match
Iran 72 – Netherlands 54
Netherlands 57 – China 34
Bronze Medal match
Germany 42 – USA 57