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Basketball: Belgian Cats win historic European championship title
Belgium’s national women’s basketball team beat Spain (58-64) to take gold at the European Basketball Championships in Ljubljana on Sunday.
It was a historic and exciting victory for the Belgian Cats. After trailing in the first 35 minutes of the final, they went on the offensive. Just four minutes from the end of the match, star player Emma Meesseman scored 24 points to secure the gold.
Her feat earned her the best player of the competition (MVP) title. For the past 10 years, Meesseman has played in the US and has previously been named MVP of its professional league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Despite her many successes, the victory with the Cats was “the best moment of my career”, said the player moments after the match.
The Belgian team only arrived on the European basketball scene in 2017, when they secured a bronze medal. During this latest European championship in Slovenia, the players proved their growing maturity in winning all six matches.
Now the team has its sights set on the Olympic Games in Paris in the summer of 2024.
But first, it was time to celebrate their current victory. The Belgian Cats were invited by Brussels mayor Philippe Close to the city hall for a reception on Tuesday. They then made a balcony appearance before joining the crowds in the Grand Place to sign autographs and pose for photos. The 10 players were joined in the ceremony by the men's 3x3 Belgian Lions team, who won silver at the European championship.
Photo: ©Belga/Virginie Lefour