Two years ago on this day, the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Hamburg came to an end! We thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to redesign and revive this article for you to make the most of it.
From the 16th to the 26th August 2018, Hamburg hosted the second biggest event in disabled sports after the Paralympic Games: the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship. Twelve female as well as sixteen male teams fought for the title over these eleven days. This made the Hamburg WBWC 2018 the biggest world championships in history so far. Members of the English Explorations team were on the scene and had the opportunity to interview some of the players from English speaking countries during the tournament. We invite you to listen to the recordings we provide you and to discover this wonderful sport. Za-Donk!
We got our first interview from Canadian #14 Tyler Miller after their 77:47 win against Morocco – both opponents of Germany in Pool A – and with Morocco debuting at the World Championships. Canada, however, won the title in 1979 as well as the Paralympic Gold medal in 2000, 2004 and 2012. With two silver medals, one at the World Championships 1986 and one at the Paralympics 2008, as well as four bronze medals in a row at the World Championships from 1990 to 2002, Canada’s men’s national team belongs to the more successful ones in the history of the sport.
The next day, we got our first voice from the US team, in person of their number #9 Matt Scott who had just defeated Poland by 82 to 51 in their first game of the tournament. Just like their Northern neighbors, the US always belongs to the circle of favourites to win a medal at championships. The „motherland of basketball’s“ medal record at World championships and Paralympics never fails to impress: They won six gold medals each at both competitions – Paralympic Champions in 1960, 1964, 1972, 1976, 1988 and 2016 as well as World Champions in 1979, 1983, 1986, 1994, 1998 and 2002. In opposition to one silver medal at the Paralympics 1968 stand four at World Championships in 1975, 1990, 2006 and 2014. They would add their fifth at the end of the tournament in Hamburg. And lastly they have collected four bronze medals at the Paralympics (1980, 1996, 2000, 2012) and one at World Championships (2010) so far.
Later on the same day, we also got our first voice from a women’s team. Judith Hamer plays for the British team. Their 72-45-win over Brazil was already their second in the tournament. The decades-long rivalry between Germany and the Netherlands for gold hasn’t left much space for other European teams in the final of the European championships. However, the British managed to gather ten (!) bronze medals over time. Their best result at Paralympics was the fourth place in Rio and their best result at World Championships would be the silver medal won in Hamburg. Their first silver medal at European championships would follow one year later in Rotterdam.
Next in line is the number #23 of the US women, Abby Dunkin. They lost their preliminary game against the hosts Germany 56 to 70. As we have another interview from her teammate Morgan Wood, let’s for now present the host team of these World championships.
Above I already briefly mentioned Germany’s success at the European level. Up to that moment, there had not been a final without the Germans, thus gathering ten gold as well as six silver medals, making them the most successful team in Europe. Only in 2019 in Rotterdam did Germany miss the final and win the bronze medal. They have equally managed to get to the podium at Paralympics and World Championships throughout the history of the sport. Though still waiting for their first World Champion title, they have already won three gold medals at Paralympics in 1980, 1984 and 2012. In addition, they won four silver medals in 1976, 1988, 2008 and 2016. At the World Championships, they came in second on three occasions in 1990, 2010 and 2014 and third in 2006. Another bronze medal would be added to their collection after the tournament in Hamburg, while Great Britain would win their first silver and the Netherlands their first gold medal.
Later in the afternoon, the Canadian men had their preliminary game against the hosts and we got to interview their #11 Chad Chassman after winning 78-61. Their medal record, however, isn’t as full as that of the women’s national team. Their best results are a silver medal at the Paralympics 1992 and a fifth place at the World Championships 2002. In the history of the European Championships, they gathered two silver medals (1999 and 2011) and five bronze medals (1989, 2001, 2007, 2015 and 2017).
The match Great Britain versus USA happened on two occasions on the court Hamburg: in a preliminary match as well as the final. Whereas the US was able to win the first, Great Britain could take their revenge and win the final and thus of course, their second gold medal. After the preliminary match, we were able to have a quick chat with GB’s number #5, Simon Brown. Aside from these two gold medals at World Championships, the British have won two silver (1994 and 2002) as well as one bronze medal (1975). At the Paralympics, they have yet to attain their first title, but have won three silver (1960, 1964, 1996) and five bronze medals (1960, 1968, 2004, 2008 and 2016). In addition to that, they are the most successful team in Europe, having won seven gold medals (in 1971, 1974, 1995, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019), five silver medals (1993, 1997, 2005, 2007 and 2017) and four bronze medals (1970, 1991, 2003 and 2009).
On Day 5 of the tournament, the champion of two previous championships in 2010 and 2014, Australia was surprisingly defeated by their Dutch opponents 53 to 58. After the game, we talked to Bill Latham, Australia’s #5. Australia’s medal record also shows one bronze medal at World championships, to which they would add another at the end of the tournament, by defeating Iran 68 to 57. Their results at the Paralympics were slightly better: two sets of gold (1996 and 2008 ) and sliver medals each (2004 and 2012).
As announced above, here is the interview with American #10, Morgan Wood. They had just lost their game 43-64 to China. In contrary to what this result and the result against Germany might suggest, the US women always are a favourite for placing themselves in the medal ranks. They became World Champions two times in 1990 and 2010 as well as Paralympic Champions four times in 1988, 2004, 2008 and 2016 which makes them the current Paralympic Champion. They have won four silver medals at World Championships in a row (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006), always having to admit defeat to the Canadian team. At the Paralympic tournament, they came in second in 1992 and three Paralympic bronze medals in 1968, 1980 and 1996 complete the US medal record. In Hamburg, they finished only 6th , but just like the German team, the Americans had been going through a period of transition, with only two players left who played the Paralympic games in Rio.
The preliminary round was now finished and the following records had all been made after two different crossover games, won by the teams who would later be opponents in the final for gold. We talked to Michael Paye, a very well-known and successful player in the German RBBL (Rollstuhlbasketball-Bundesliga) for the record champion RSV Lahn-Dill. The US won 82 to 31 over Morocco and thus were proceeding to the Quarter Finals.
The same day, the later World Champion Great Britain and the host Germany met in their crossover games. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the British put an end to all German hopes and defeated the hosts with 62 to 54. However, this did not stain the atmosphere which we tried to capture for you as well. After the game, we got to talk to GB’s #10 Abdillah Jama and #7 Terence Bywater.
Were you intrigued by all the kinds of accents you heard hear? How did you do in understanding the recordings? We would love to hear about your experiences and your thoughts. Please share in the comment box below!