GB rugby_wheelchairJune 8 - The Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team succeeded in their bid to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games by winning their third consecutive European Championship crown in Finland today.

The British side remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, winning all five of their round-robin Games against Ireland (40-15), Finland (18-16), Switzerland (25-21), Austria (54-28) and Belgium (30-25) - which saw them finish top of their group.

The team then beat Sweden with a narrow 21-20 victory to book their place in the final against Germany, who had also won all their games in the run up to the final.

Having already qualified their place for Beijing, all that was left to play for was the title and Britain were determined to win.

Despite a closely fought contest with the German side it was GB who eventually triumphed with a 28-26 victory.

Chief executive of Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) Jean Collingwood said: “The competition has been tough with some surprises along the way - such as Finland, who -as the home nation - proved to be testing opponents.

“The 12-man squad however proved GB are tough competition and succeeded in maintaining their dominance in Europe.

"The guys train and work hard 24/7, 52 weeks a year and nothing gets in the way of competition success.

“Our next mission is to do well in Beijing - now we have qualified - but London 2012 is also high on our agenda, with a strong vision of being a centrepiece in all the excitement and winning gold in front of a home crowd.”

Britain - who just missed the podium at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games finishing fourth - are now three-time consecutive champions of Europe, having previously won in both 2003 and 2005.