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Annika Zeyen

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Annika Zeyen
No 8 - Annika Zeyen.jpg
Annika Zeyen in Toronto, June 2014
Personal information
Nickname(s) Anni
Nationality German
Born (1985-02-17) 17 February 1985 (age 31)
Country Germany
Sport Wheelchair basketball
Disability class 1.5
Event(s) Women's team
College team University of Alabama
Coached by Brent Hardin
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals 2008 Paralympics, 2012 Paralympics, 2016 Paralympics

Annika Zeyen (born 17 February 1985) is a 1.5-point wheelchair basketball player,[1] who has played for ASV Bonn and RSV Lahn-Dill in the German wheelchair basketball league, and for the University of Alabama in the United States. She has also played for the national team, with which she won three European titles, was the runner-up at 2010 World Championships, won silver at the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing, and won a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, for which President Joachim Gauck awarded the team Germany's highest sporting honour, the Silbernes Lorbeerblatt (Silver Laurel Leaf).


Zeyen was born on 17 February 1985. She is nicknamed "Anni".[1] At the age of 14,[2] she was involved in a serious horse riding accident that left her paralysed. During rehab, she was introduced to the sport of wheelchair basketball. She left the hospital and started looking for a club where she could play.[3]

Zeyen joined ASV Bonn, initially playing with the youth team, then with the seconds, and finally with the firsts. In 2001, she played in the German Championships for Women, and was named most valuable young player. In 2004, she switched to RSV Lahn-Dill, with which she won several German championships. She was invited to try out for the national team, and joined its development squad.[3] She competed in her first paralympic games, the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.[4] She subsequently played for the national team that won the European championships in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011.[3]

In September 2008, Zeyen participated in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, but Germany was beaten in the gold medal match by the United States team,[5] which contained three of her former team mates from the University of Alabama, Stephanie Wheeler, Mary Allison Milford and Alana Nichols.[6] The German team took home Paralympic silver medals instead.[5] After the Paralympics, the team's performance was considered impressive enough for it to be named the national "Team of the Year",[7] and it received the Silver Laurel Leaf, Germany's highest sporting honour, from German President Horst Koehler.[8]

Zeyen took up a scholarship to the University of Alabama in 2009,[3] majoring in advertising and minoring in graphic design. She maintained a 4.0 grade point average.[9] Her team at the University of Alabama won three titles in five years, narrowly missing out in March 2013 to the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, which won the championship game 55–41, a game in which Zeyen scored 11 points.[10] Zeyen was named an Academic All-American in 2012 and 2013.[9]

In June 2012, Zeyen was named as one of the team that competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London.[11] In the Gold Medal match, her team faced Australia,[12] a team that had defeated them 48–46 in Sydney just a few months before.[13] They defeated the Australians 58–44 in front of a crowd of over 12,000 at the North Greenwich Arena to win the gold medal,[12] the first that Germany had won in women's wheelchair basketball in 28 years.[14] They were awarded a Silver Laurel Leaf by President Joachim Gauck in November 2012,[15] and were again named Team of the Year for 2012.[14]

The German team lost the European Championship to the Netherlands before a home town crowd of 2,300 in Frankfurt in July 2013 by a point, 56-57. The game was televised live in Germany, and cameras lingered on a tearful Zeyen, who could have tied the game and sent it into extra time with a free throw in its dying moments.[16]

In April 2014, Zeyen was part of the BG Baskets Hamburg team that won the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Euro League Challenge Cup, its first International title, with a 62–54 over the Frankfurt Mainhatten Skywheelers. The team also won the Fair Play Award of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Europe, and Zeyen was elected to its All Star team.[17]

The German team claimed silver at the 2014 Women's World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Toronto, Canada,[18] and beat the Netherlands in the 2015 European Championships, to claim its tenth European title.[19] At the 2016 Paralympic Games, it won silver after losing the final to the United States.[20]


  • 2005: Gold at European championships (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France)
  • 2006: Bronze at World Championships (Amsterdam, Netherlands)[3]
  • 2007: Gold at European championships (Wetzlar, Germany)[3]
  • 2008: Silver at the Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)[3]
  • 2009: Gold at the European Championships (Stoke Mandeville, England)[3]
  • 2010: Silver at the World Championships[3]
  • 2011: Gold at the European Championships (Nazareth, Israel)[11]
  • 2012: Gold at the Paralympic Games (London, England)[12]
  • 2013: Silver at the European Championships (Frankfurt, Germany) [16]
  • 2014: Silver at the World Championships (Toronto, Canada) [18]
  • 2015: Gold at the European Championships (Worcester, England) [19]
  • 2016: Silver at the Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)[20][21]


  • 2008: Team of the Year[7]
  • 2008: Silver Laurel Leaf[8]
  • 2012: Team of the Year[14]
  • 2012: Silver Laurel Leaf[15]
Sydney July 2012


  1. ^ a b "Annika Zeyen – Wheelchair Basketball". Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Rollstuhlsportlerin Annika Zeyen: "Das ist mein Schicksal"". Rhein-Sieg Anzieger. 21 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Annika Zeyen" (in German). Medica Sport. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Athlete Search Results - Annika Zeyen". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Joisten, Bernd (20 October 2010). "Edina Müller: "Ich bin ein Mensch, der nach vorn blickt"". General-Anzeiger (in German). Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Five UA players to play in Paralympic Games in Beijing". Tuscaloosa News. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Goldenes Buch: Palavern bei Sekt ist nicht ihr Ding". Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (in German). 4 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Edina Müller: "Herzsprung" beim Einlauf ins Olympiastadion in Peking" (in German). Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Find Your Passion: It's All in the 'UA Family' for Gold Medalist". University of Alabama. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Adapted Athletics". University of Alabama. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Nu Nguyen-Thi darf nicht mit: Holger Glinicki benennt Kader für die Paralympics". Rolling Planet (in German). 12 June 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c "Germany claim women's crown". Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 7 September 2012. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Mannion, Tim (21 July 2012). "Victory for Rollers and Gliders as London Awaits". Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c "Rollstuhlbasketballerinnen sind Mannschaft des Jahres" (in German). HSV-Rollstuhlsport. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "Verleihung des Silbernen Lorbeerblattes". Bundespräsidialamt (in German). 7 November 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Rollstuhlbasketball-EM: Deutsche Damen nach über einem Jahrzehnt entthront". Rolling Planet (in German). 6 July 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "BG Baskets Hamburg triumphieren in Badajoz" (in German). BG Baskets Hamburg. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "2014 WWWBC: Germany". Wheelchair Basketball Canada. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Germany earn 10th women's European Wheelchair Basketball Championship title as hosts Britain win men's gold". Inside the Games. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "USA clinch women's basketball gold". International Paralympic Committee. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  21. ^ "Paralympic - Wheelchair Basketball Women Germany:". Rio 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2016.