Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby have made history, winning an unprecedented sixth IWRF European Championships gold medal following a 49-41 victory over Sweden.
Winning the tournament now means that the squad have automatically qualified for the World Championships, which are to be held in Sydney, Australia, next year.
Captain Chris Ryan told the GBWR official website: “I feel amazing and what a performance against Sweden. As reigning champions we had to come here and defend the title and I am so proud of us all.”
The game was close throughout the opening stages, with nothing to separate to two teams with the score at 12-12 after the first quarter. Sweden star man Tobias Sandberg was a constant threat for Sweden as he ensured the score was tied with a last second point.
It was still anyone’s game in the second quarter, with the two teams going point-for-point all the way to half time with the score locked at 25-25. In an excellent team performance, Paul Shaw’s men started to ramp up the pressure in the third quarter and managed to put a three-point gap in the score as they entered the final eight minutes.
“Sweden are such a calm and clever team and it took us a while to break them down, but we got there in the end.” Added Ryan.
As the seconds ticked on, GB put in a solid final quarter to really stamp their authority on the game and eventually win the final with an eight-point margin.
The final was a repeat of the 2015 competition, which GB just managed to win by a single point, really highlighting how far the team have come since that tournament in Finland two years ago.
Ryan continued: “We know we are getting better because we are working so hard. To win that game with no player over a 2.5 is massive for us. I am so proud and I can’t really find the words.”
GB enjoyed an unbeaten tournament, winning all their Group B games with results against Poland (57-32), Ireland (65-27) and Denmark (60-47) before knocking out France (54-41) in the semi final on Friday.