When you think about wheelchair basketball, you will probably think of the women’s Dutch team: the Orange Lions. In the last couple of years, they showed the world how to be dominant! From the 30th of June until the 7th of July, they will compete for their own country at the European Championship Women Wheelchair Basketball 2019, which will be held in the Topsportcentrum Rotterdam.
The Paralympics at Rio de Janeiro
Coach Gertjan van der Linden came to Rio with one goal: winning the gold medal. They began pretty well during the group phases, winning against Algeria, France and China. By only losing against the USA, a second spot during the group phase is what left. The quarterfinals wouldn’t be easy: taking on against the former World Champion Canada. However, the ladies of coach Van der Linden took another win. Reaching gold came closer, but became impossible when The Netherlands could win against Germany. A bronze medal was all that was possible, and became a fact when Great Britain was defeated. It was a beginning of a fantastic future that will happen.
About five months later after the Paralympics of 2016, the Orange Lions were competing at the Osaka Cup of 2017. They showed the other participating countries who they are and what they are capable of. By winning against Australia, the Osaka Cup came in hand of the Orange Lions. Not for once I can say. In 2018, the Orange Lions had to face Japan, Great Britain and Australia again and won the Osaka Cup again. The Orange Lions became a dominant team, as they won the Osaka Cup for the third time in a row. They won with many points differential from all the other teams. The Osaka Cup became a big success for the Lions!
European Championship 2017
Lets go to Tenerife, the place where the European Championship of 2017 was held. During the group phase, the Orange Lions were dominant against France, Turkey, Great Britain and Spain. They only lost against Germany, and after that they would face Great Britain again at the semi-finals. Great Britain lost against the Lions before, and had to face another blow out. The Lions reached the finals, and had to take revenge of Germany. The whole game, the Lions played amazing and became the European Champion by defeating Germany with 56-46.
World Championship 2018
The Lions took the gold medal at the European Championship, so why not trying to reach the gold medal during the World Championship in Hamburg? Not a single team could get even close to the Orange Lions, as they became more dominant than ever before! In the semi-finals, China almost got doubled by the Lions. During the finals, Great Britain also became a victim of the Orange Lions by losing with big numbers, and the gold medal became a fact. What could be next in Rotterdam?
Team roster at the European Championship 2019
- Bo Kramer
- Carina de Rooij
- Cher Korver
- Dagmar van Hinte
- Ilse Arts
- Jitske Visser
- Julia van der Sprong
- Lindsey Frelink
- Mariska Beijer
- Saskia Pronk
- Sylvana van Hees
- Xena Wimmenhoeve
Head coach: Gertjan van der Linden
Assistant coach: Irene Sloof