9 August 2019

GB set to go for gold after securing Tokyo 2020 berth

Going for gold

Great Britain’s wheelchair rugby team will go for their third consecutive gold at the European Championships after a clinical performance saw them defeat Sweden 53-34 in the semi-finals – securing a spot at Tokyo 2020 in the process.

Fresh from three wins from three in the pool stages the GB team knew that a clash with host nation awaited should they see off Sweden after Denmark picked up an impressive win over France in the first semi-final match in Vejle.

With Tokyo qualification on the line the defending champions showed no signs of nerves as they opened up a five-point lead in the first quarter and finished the half 26-19 ahead.

And it was more of the same after the change-over with GB scoring 15 in the third to all-but seal their Tokyo berth.

“It was clinical,” said Jim Roberts. “We were a bit scrappy towards the end but it was a case of going out and hitting our targets and coming away with the win.

“It’s good to get the Tokyo qualification sorted and now we can focus on the game against Denmark and getting that gold medal.

“Sweden are great opposition and they’ve been a bit unlucky with injuries this season and so maybe didn’t arrive in the form they would have liked.

“We never underestimated them, we knew we had to bring our A game.”

Sunday’s gold-medal match will see a repeat of Friday’s final pool game – GB beating the Danes 63-45 on that occasion.

But Roberts knows that the team will need to keep their cool in the final in order to produce a repeat result and pick up a third consecutive European gold.

“They are going to be loud and proud and cheering their team on so we need to stay calm and come out and do a job again,” Roberts added.

“We already got a taster of what the atmosphere will be like and I’m sure it will be crazy tomorrow.

“We are double defending champions and they are going for their first so we have everything to lose and they have everything to gain.

“It would be massive to get that third in a row and the whole team are ready and focussed so we just need to go out and do our jobs.”

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