WHEELCHAIR basketball co-captain Clare Strange, from Newport, admitted she couldn’t put her finger on why Great Britain’s campaign failed to ignite yesterday – but she’s warned it would be foolish to write their medal chances off just yet.
The 32-year-old, playing in her fourth Paralympics, and her British teammates were given a lesson by the Netherlands at the North Greenwich Arena, slumping to a 62-35 defeat with Mariska Beijer notching up 26 points. Great Britain are no strangers to the Dutch and neither is Strange. She has won five European bronze medals since 1999 with the Netherlands taking gold on one of those occasions and silver on the other four.
But after Great Britain proved no match for the Dutch – and in particular Beijer – Strange was at a loss as to why the margin of defeat was so vast.
“It was tough work but I think we made tough work of it to be honest. In the first half we held them and I don’t really know what happened – we probably lost focus,” said Strange, who has finished eighth at all three of her previous Paralympic app-earances. “We knew who the key players were for the Dutch and we’ve played them so many times but it was those players who we know all about that got on top of us. We didn’t do what we hoped we would go out there and do. They played very well and we didn’t contain them but we’ll learn a lot from it.”
On yesterday’s evidence, Great Britain will have to raise their game if they are to claim a first ever women’s wheelchair basketball medal, although Strange and co did make an impressive start and were locked at 8-8 after the first quarter. Now Strange is eager to put things right when Great Britain entertain Australia today.
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