SA qualifies for London paralympics

2011-10-14 13:21

South Africa’s wheelchair basketball team overcame tough conditions to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympics with a clinical 83-54 win over Morocco in the finals of the African qualifying event in Rabat last night.

The result meant that Team South Africa went through the entire qualifying tournament unbeaten and took the only spot available for the London 2012 competition.

There were some nerves in the first quarter, as Morocco were fired-up and looked to stop Richard Nortje’s game-breaking abilities.

For a while it worked as the host nation, in front of a fiercely partisan home crowd, held out for an 18-14 lead.

South Africa upped their game in the second quarter, taking control of the match and heading into the half 43-27 ahead.

They never looked back as they ensured the victory by the end of the third quarter, leading 63-39 and finished strongly for a magnificent 29 point victory.

Coach Patrick Fick was overjoyed at the result, which came after some tough preparation in Europe and Australia, where the team played the best in the world.

“It is awesome, I never expected such a big win,” said coach Patrick Fick after the game.

“We did start with a bit of nerves, and Morocco obviously had a strategy to try and stop Richard, but once we made some adjustments to our game and kept to our strategy, we took control. The guys were so determined to get the win that they wouldn’t be stopped. This is great as it makes all the effort worthwhile.”

Fick said while they had a lot of work ahead of them in the next year, their recent tours had served their purpose.

“We’ve worked hard here, and we’ve had a sound preparation programme with our tours to Europe and Australia.

“We may have suffered some heavy defeats there, but I always believed playing at a higher standard would help us in the long run.

They wanted the qualification and they got it, and by the end of the third quarter we were in control. We haven’t really hit our stride yet and I know we can play better going ahead.” 

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