Wheelchair basketball /
Israel may be the host nation for the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships, but its performances to date have been anything but perfect. In yesterday's action, both the men's and the women's teams were easily beaten by Great Britain, leaving both on the verge of elimination from the tournament.
In the men's competition, Israel lost 62-40, having never held the lead in the entire game. The Brits held a double-digit advantage at the interval (36-23) and Israel failed to make any inroads into that lead in the second period.
With three defeats and one victory so far, Israel must beat Belgium today if it is to have any chance of progressing at the tournament and perhaps even booking its place at next summer's Paralympics.
After the game, coach Arik Pinto admitted he had considered putting out a weaker team and saving his big guns for today's do-or-die clash. "Several of my key players have yet to really arrive at the tournament," he told Haaretz yesterday. "I am counting on them to show up for the Belgium game, which is our most important of the tournament."
Israel's top scorers were Avi Ben-Simhon with 8 points, Dotan Meishar with 7 points and Lior Dror with 6 points.
Meanwhile, Israel's women were also beaten by Great Britain yesterday (56-28) and remain winless after three games.
While the women's team has had something of a torrid time so far, yesterday's performance was much improved. Apart from the first quarter, in which Britain opened up an unassailable 21-4 lead, the Israeli women managed to remain close in the three remaining quarters. Israel's top scorer was Mor Samuel with 13 points.
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