Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball C’ships: China retain women’s title; Korea, Iran men book Tokyo 2020 slots
The domination of Asian teams was on full display as they secured three of the five available spots for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, at the recently-concluded 2019 Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.
While the highlight of the Championships was the unbeaten run of the China’s women’s team who defended their title in style, Korea and Iran men’s teams also made the cut for the Games with their second and third places efforts, respectively.
The Australian Rollers team too have retained their men’s title and finished second in women’s event, thus earning spots for their nation in both categories.
Top two women’s teams and top three men’s teams achieved qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
The Chinese women’s team continued their rise in the sport since stealing Australia’s slot for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. They had earlier lifted the Asia Oceania title in 2017 and settled for the fourth place at the 2018 World Championships.
In this edition, they finished the tournament with a commanding win over Australia 53-31.
This was the third time the teams had met in the competition, having already met in the group games, and China continued with their intensive defence in the final too. They took advantage of numerous turnovers from Australia to go up 33-12 at the half time and never let the advantage slip.
Suiling Lin was the top scorer with 15 points, while youngster Teisha Shadwell led Australia with 12 points.
In the bronze medal contest, Japan bounced back from their defeat to Australia in the semi-finals to tame hosts Thailand, 85-22.
South Korea men’s team settles for silver
In the men’s event, the Australian men’s team kept their unbeaten record in the tournament intact and defeated South Korea 62-45 in the gold medal showdown.
The 2018 World Championship bronze medallists established a large lead early on, 23-8 at the end of the first and kept that momentum going.
Australia’s captain Shaun Norris led all scorers with 26 points, followed by South Korea’s Dong Hyeon Gim, who made a double-double of 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Iran too made the Tokyo 2020 qualification claiming the bronze medal, with a 66-55 win over Japan in a close contest.