The wheelchair basketball teams aspire to shine in the European


The Spanish wheelchair basketball teams will face the European Championship starting this Friday in Rotterdam (Netherlands), an appointment where they will try to shine in order to qualify for medals and the expensive challenge of qualifying now for the Paralympic Games in Paris on the next year.

The two teams start with options to be in the fight for the medals, although they reach this European Championship in various ways after what happened two years ago in Madrid. In the Spanish capital, the women’s made history by hanging the bronze medal, while the men’s could only be sixth and was left without a ticket to the World Cup for the first time since 2010.

Now, in addition to the complicated challenge of trying to get a medal for both teams, this is the first opportunity to get a ticket to Paris 2024. In the next Games there are only eight places per gender, four less in total than before, and that further increases the difficulty to qualify. Rotterdam is the key event for Spain since the champion and the runner-up will qualify directly, and the other two semifinalists, plus the fifth classified in the case of the women’s tournament, will be able to play a play-off tournament.

The women’s team wants to be back in the Games on its own merits as it did for Tokyo and will have to scratch at a high level in the Dutch city, where it arrives ready to show the step forward at a competitive level that it has taken in recent years and that was reflected a few months ago in Dubai, where he was already able to ‘rehearse’ this continental event against the best in the world.

In Franck Belen’s debut as coach, Spain finished in eighth position in a World Cup that should have been held at the end of 2022 and that compressed and increased the demands of its calendar. In the emirate, the Spanish were able to beat important rivals such as Canada or Australia, and were close to beating Great Britain, results that should serve as a boost to once again rub shoulders with the best on the continent.

The Spanish will be in a unique group together with the Netherlands, a great favorite due to its status as current European, world and Paralympic champion, Great Britain, Germany, France and Turkey. French and Turkish will be their first theoretically more affordable rivals before facing the favorites that will define their future by being among the first four that will go to the semifinals and continue in the Paralympic race.

“Our main objective is to continue improving and be increasingly competitive. The good games we played in Dubai gave us confidence and we have to continue believing in our qualities”, Franck Belen assured on the ‘BSR Spain’ website.

The French coach made it clear that “winning the first two games against France and Turkey is absolutely essential” if they want to have “some chance” of qualifying for Paris. “After that, we will do our best to surprise the other three teams who, on paper, are stronger than us. Also, the return of key players to Great Britain and Germany will not make it any easier for us, but we have nothing to lose. “, he warned.

The coach has maintained the block with which he competed in Dubai with Sonia Ruiz, Bea Zudaire, Lourdes Ortega and Vicky Vilariño (UCAM Murcia), Sara Revuelta (CD Ilunion), Agurtzane Egiluz and Naiara Rodríguez (Zuzenak), Michell Navarro (Amivel) , Isa López (Santo Stefano), Paola Sindy Ramos (IMF Smart Education Getafe) and Laura Ugarte (Zuzenak), who are joined by Almudena Montiel (Amivel) after her maternity and in place of Uxía Chamorro (Iberconsa Amfiv).


For its part, the men’s team has been able to have more time to prepare for this event due to its absence from the World Championship and will seek to recover a version that will once again place it among the best on the Old Continent and can bring it closer to Paris 2024.

Runner-up on two occasions (1995 and 2019 1995) and third on two others (2011 and 2013), the team led by Abraham Carrión has carefully prepared this European Championship with a long concentration in which they have also played three friendlies against Turkey, all settled with victory. In addition, at the end of 2022 he organized a Nations Cup in Madrid in which he beat Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Poland.

In Rotterdam, the Spanish team is framed in Group A together with the Netherlands, fourth in the last World Cup, Germany, bronze in Madrid, Poland, rival of the debut, Switzerland and Latvia. Spain must be in the top four to go to the quarterfinals, where it would meet Great Britain, defending champion, Italy, its executioner in 2021, France, Austria, Israel or Turkey.

Alejandro Zarzuela, Oscar Onrubia, Fran Lara (Amiab Albacete); Amadou Diallo, Daniel Stix, Ignacio Ortega and Pablo Lavandeira (Ilunion); Asier García and Manu Lorenzo (Bidaideak Bilbao); Julio Vilas (Iberconsa Amfiv); Pablo Zarzuela (UCAM Murcia) and Jordi Ruiz (Thuringia Bulls) are the 12 chosen by the coach.

“I think the team is fine and we’ve grown a lot in recent months. We’re strong and I think we’re going to have a good championship, but what we need is to start competing, take away the anxiety that the group has a bit, and then game by game to grow to reach the most important matches of the quarterfinals and finals at the best possible moment”, Asier García pointed out in the official account of ‘BSR España’.