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14 November 2014

Czech Gunners win Abano European club tournament in Italy

Written by Paola Noventa


The first edition of the "Abano" International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament was held on 7-9 November, and was organized by the Italian club Padova Rugby (which last year won the Italian experimental championship) with the support of local city halls of Abano Terme and Montegrotto.


After the "Tarta Trophy" held last May, this is the second European club tournament that takes place in Italy. It was the ideal occasion to help improving the Italian wheelchair rugby movement, and also to test the physical condition of the Italian athletes that will play the "Rugbymania" in Czech Republic in December, and the IWRF European qualifier in April 2015.


After Friday and Saturdays preliminary matches, the Gunners (from Czech Republic) were ahead of the other teams with three wins. On Sunday morning, Docler Wildboars (Hungary) fought for the third position against Padova Rugby B team, while Padova Rugby A team was determined to win against the Gunners for first place. The first match was quite balanced until half time, then Padova B team increased their advantage and that was probably due to their wider availability of high pointers. But the first and second place final was truly breathtaking.


The Czech team was soon in advantage by 4-5 points, also thanks to a few errors of the home team. But on the long run, even though Padova had two injured players and therefore played with the same formation for 90% of the time, the Italians were in a better physical condition and the Gunners were struggling to keep their advantage. Just 20 seconds before the end of the game the Czech team was only 1 goal ahead of Padova, which was determined to score and take the match into overtime: what happened next was a mixture of Padova's inexperience and a doubtful decision by the first referee, for which the 45-44 result was unaltered and the Gunners won the tournament.


At the end of the game, Padova's President Lorenzo Morini, never mind the loss, thanked authorities and sponsors but most of all his guys "..we still have a long way to go but if we keep pushing this way we will achieve great results".


David Lukes, the Gunners' team captain and organizer of the Rugbymania tournament in Czech Republic says: "We are supporting the Italian players and all the nice people within the Italian wheelchair rugby movement since they started three years ago. It is really nice to see how much their skills improved and how the team works together. Personally, I love Italy for their culture and for their enjoying life as in "La dolce vita". The tournament was really good, despite few minor organization problems. We hope this was only the start of a new tradition with new tournaments to come, and we wish there will be more foreign participants in the next years".


Judit Jacobi, team captain of the Docler Wildboars, commentated their experience in Abano by saying: "We are very happy for the improvement of the Italian wheelchair rugby teams and organizations. We met them two years ago for the first time and it is amazing how much they improved in every way. The teams are getting stronger, the events are getting better and more serious, as there are also more referees and table officials as time goes by. It is really very instructive for us as we are also in a developing state. This tournament was again a great experience, it was well organized in a beautiful city, where streets are so flat that wheelchair "walking” is a pure pleasure of freedom! The Italian hospitality was very generous, the games were really enjoyable and it was such a great honour for all the team that our offender, László Farkas, won the prize of "Best Player of the Tournament"! Hopefully we will be able to participate in other Italian events of this sort also in the future".


Final Game Results


Padova Rugby A (ITA) vs. Padova Rugby B (ITA) - 63-35
Docler-Wildboars (HUN) vs. The Gunners (CZE) - 19-71
Padova Rugby B (ITA) vs. Docler-Wildboars (HUN) - 57-43

Padova Rugby A (ITA) vs. The Gunners (CZE) - 38-42

The Gunners (CZE) vs. Padova Rugby B (ITA) - 61-27
Padova Rugby A (ITA) vs. Docler-Wildboars (HUN) - 53-24
3rd/4th Place: Padova Rugby B (ITA) vs. Docler-Wildboars (HUN) - 40-24
1st/2nd place: The Gunners (CZE) vs. Padova Rugby A (ITA) - 45-44