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19 April 2012

Great Britain through to Paralympic test event final

Great Britain have reached the final of the London International Invitational wheelchair rugby tournament at the Olympic Park's Basketball Arena, following a 52-51 overtime victory over Australia.

 

Both teams had opened with back-to-back wins on Wednesday but it was the hosts who continued their perfect start to the Paralympic test event. The two teams will meet again, however, in Thursday night's final.

 

Australia led at the end of the opening two quarters, opening up a slender 25-23 lead by the halfway stage.

 

The hosts fought back and the scores were tied 42-42 at the end of regulation time, before Great Britain claimed a dramatic one-point victory.

 

Also known as Murderball, wheelchair rugby is a relatively new sport. It was invented in 1977 by a group of Canadian quadriplegic athletes who wanted an alternative to wheelchair basketball.

 

Wheelchair rugby was first part of the Paralympic Games at Atlanta in 1996, when it was featured as a demonstration sport. Incorporating elements of basketball, handball and ice hockey, it is an intense, fast-paced sport.

 

Each team has 12 players, with four of these allowed on court at any one time. Each competitor is assigned a point value (0.5 to 3.5) based on their ability. The total on-court value for each team of four cannot exceed eight.

 

Earlier today Canada beat Sweden for their first win in London, 61-48. These two teams will play again for Bronze at 16:00 today, followed by Great Britain vs. Australia for Gold at 18:00 GMT.