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Great Britain Teams to Step Up European Championship Preparations Next Week

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Wheelchair basketball fans will get an early glimpse of Great Britain’s squads as they continue their preparations for the European Championships at the University of Worcester Arena next week.

The venue will host the European Championships – the qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – in August and September.

Britain’s men’s and women’s teams are both preparing to do battle with the rest of the continent’s top nations at that event, and they will get an early measure of their progress when they take part in next week’s Continental Clash event.

This is the third year in which the University Arena has hosted the Continental Clash, and, as with previous events, there will be ‘showcase games’ which will be open to the public.

The women’s tournament will begin on Monday June 22, with Great Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands – all of whom will also be competing in the European Championships – facing each other in a round-robin format.

The women’s showcase games will take place the following evening – Tuesday June 23. The Netherlands take on France at 5.30pm, before Great Britain and Germany do battle from 7.45pm.

The men’s tournament will also be played in a round-robin format, and will start the following day. Great Britain, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands will compete, with the showcase games taking place on the evening on Friday June 26; Japan against the Netherlands at 5.30pm, followed by Great Britain against Germany at 7.45pm.

Great Britain men's coach, Haj Bhania, says: "The Continental Clash has become a staple part of our schedule over the past four years, always providing our squad with a high quality platform to compete against world class opponents. 

"This year, as we approach the European Championships, the opportunity to play teams like Germany, the Netherlands and Japan on the same courts we’ll be competing on later this summer forms an invaluable part of our preparations and the very important selection process for this major event.

"Each year, the support we’ve had from the local community has been fantastic; that adds to the experience and we hope that will be the case again this year.”

Women’s coach, Miles Thompson, adds: “The Continental Clash allows us deeper looks at the most competitive teams, and an opportunity to run various line-ups against them.  Friendlies are always an interesting mixture of preparation and scouting.”

Tickets for each of the showcase evenings cost £5 for adults and £1 for children or concessions, and can be purchased from the University Arena reception or from Ticketline

The European Championships will take place between August 28 and September 6, and form part of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded #EveryRoadtoRio programme, which targets events that will support the nation’s athletes in their preparation and qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

To deliver the event, British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB) has also teamed up with key partner the University of Worcester, with invaluable support from the Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Further information on the Championships, and details on how to book tickets, can be found at www.euro2015.uk.   

Pictured outside the University Arena are Great Britain's Abdi Jama and Sophie Carrigill.