The Netherlands’s women are off to a strong start on their road to Tokyo 2020 after defeating Australia 55-40 in the finals of the Osaka Cup that concluded Saturday (11 February) in Osaka, Japan.

The tournament consisted of four teams, Japan, Great Britain, Australia and The Netherlands, and for most it was one of their first international meetings sine Rio 2016 and all were looking to give some of their younger players more experience.

The Netherlands, were working to improve on a bittersweet bronze from Rio 2016, players such as Lindsay Frelink, Julia van der Sprong, Sylvana van Hees and Amy Kaijen, gained valuable playing time.

The Netherlands fell to host nation Japan in overtime 69-68 but rebounded, trouncing Australia and Great Britain, 67-39 and 72-40, respectively to earn their way into the gold medal game.

London 2012 silver medallists Australia are looking to return to the Paralympic Games after failing to qualify for Rio 2016 and saw their first international competition under new coach David Gould. They came back stronger in the finals.

They forced the Netherlands to sloppy turnovers and difficult shots that saw the first period end in a 12-12 tie. Mariska Beijer stepped up for the Netherlands in the half to finish with 18 points. The Netherlands also had much-needed help from the experienced Inge Huitzing, who added to the scoring. Carina de Rooij’s modest five assists and five rebounds in 22 minutes were also needed to help the Netherlands claim gold.

The bronze medal game saw Great Britain take on Japan once more; this time, however, it was the host nation who secured victory – Japan closing out a 55-44 win.

The Netherlands Marika Beijer earned Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Her teammate Inge Huitzing, Great Britain’s Sophie Carrigill and Joy Haizelden; Australia’s Amber Merritt and Japan’s Hagino Mayo were named on the All Star 5.

Full results:

Thursday 9th February

  • Japan  69 – 68 The Netherlands
  • Australia 57 – 48 Great Britain

Friday 10th February

  • Japan 42 – 65 Great Britain
  • Australia 39 – 67 The Netherlands
  • The Netherlands 72 – 40 Great Britain
  • Japan 57 – 70 Australia

Saturday 11th February

  • Bronze – Great Britain 44 – 55 Japan
  • Gold – The Netherlands 55 – 40 Australia

More information on the Osaka Cup can be found on the event’s Facebook page.