A strong training system with focus of technique and learning skills from top European teams are the factors helping China women to continue their good run at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022.
The Chinese women team returned to international competition after nearly two years, post Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, at the Dubai 2022 Worlds and hardly showed any rustiness in their game.
On Saturday, China defeated Japan 60-52 in an intense women’s quarter-finals that saw the former leading throughout the game. The only time they trailed Japan was 46-44 in the third quarter.
China captain Suiling Lin led from the front with 13 two-pointers, while Tonglei Zhang followed her with six two-pointers.
“Japan is a strong team; but I think we have had more chances in the game today. We made some technique adjustments and played strong defensive game after the third quarter that worked for us well,” said People’s Republic of China head coach Chen Qi.
“This is an important win for us as this will give us a good position in the Asia-Oceania zone.”
China women’s team, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallist, had 15 days of training together in Beijing before this championship with some newcomers brought into the side including Jingwen Chen, Qiaoling Qiu, Meimei Zhang and Qiumin Cai to play alongside their experienced stars.
Meanwhile, their senior player Yun Long returned to the team after six years of break due to motherhood.
“We have a balanced team with senior and some newcomers; the senior players always motivate and teach the juniors. The Dubai 2022 Championships is more about playing some games, get good training for the newcomers and a good preparation for the year.
“We have a strong training system back in China, which help the players improve their game; the focus is more on the technical aspect of our game. Our training also includes learning skills and technique from top teams from Europe and America.
“Our aim is to do well in Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games; but of course, the players want to win in Hangzhou,” added the coach Qi also indicating a podium finish at this World Championships.
China will meet three-time silver medallists Germany who beat Australia 64-50 riding on Mareike Miller’s double-double (29 points, 21 rebounds).
Germany who started off well, leading 21-2 in the first quarter, were caught by a strong Australian defence midway. Meanwhile, Australians took over the proceedings in the next two quarters, thanks to Amber Merritt’s 28 points, before Germany rallied in the game.
Netherlands to meet USA in semis
Before China reached the semi-finals, defending champions Netherlands defeated Canada 66-47, ending their amazing run that including a win over China in their last league game.
On Saturday, Canada, the five-time former World champions, started strongly but couldn’t match the pace of the Paralympic champions Netherlands who increased the gap in the second and third quarters. Mariska Beijer led the Dutch team with a double-double (26 points, 13 rebounds).
Later, USA rode on Rose Marie Hollermann’s 34-point show that included 13 two-pointers to beat Spain 73-45. The Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist next meet the Dutch in the semi-finals.
On Sunday, both men’s and women’s semi-finals will be played besides the cross-overs and placing games.
Around 350 players from 20 nations are competing at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 where top four teams in both men’s and women’s competitions get the continental spots, in the road to Paris 2024 Paralympic Games qualification.
Women’s Quarter-finals results
Netherlands 66 Canada 47
China 60 Japan 52
Spain 45 USA 73
Germany 64 Australia 50
USA vs. Netherlands
China vs. Germany
USA vs. Netherlands
Iran vs. Great Britain