The 14th Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup will take place between Friday 10th November to Sunday 12th November 2017.

Four men’s teams from Canada, The Netherlands, South Korea and the hosts Japan will take part in the tournament. The tournament is aimed at national teams who are looking to develop young players with the aim of them participating in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. All players who will compete in the 2017 Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup must be 30 years old or below.

The tournament, which is hosted by the City of Kitakyushu, Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation, The Kitakyushu Sports Association for the Disabled and The Kitakyushu Welfare Agency, will take place at the Kitakyushu City General Gymnasium showing teams the potential to use the city as a prospective training camp for countries prior to the Tokyo Paralympics.

Alongside the tournament, an outreach programme into local schools is also run and players from the four competing teams will visit local elementary, junior and high schools to meet with the students and give demonstrations of the sport.

Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup Executive Committee Secretariat, Katsuhiko Takahashi, said “Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup takes place every year to commemorate the 2002 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Kitakyushu. Aside from this, we also hold the “All Japan Blocked Selected Championships”. This competition is composed of 10 domestic teams competing against each other for the top spot of being Japan’s best team in wheelchair basketball. There is also an ”Elementary School Competition” composed of able-bodied school children between the ages of 10-11 years old.

“The reason why Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup has been held for a number of years is not only to witness wonderful and exciting games by various countries, but also because it has been supported by many citizen volunteers, various educational institutions and companies as a symbol to promote Kitakyushu as a “Barrier-free City”.

“Another reason is that we have visited elementary schools and taught wheelchair basketball to the able-bodied school children for a long time. They practice it as a sport at the schools by themselves for several months before and they finally compete in the “Elementary School Competition”, which is held at the same time as the Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup.

“Over the past several years, we have seen the youth who used to participate in the Elementary School Competition come back and support the tournament as volunteers in roles such as setting up the event venue, acting as ushers during the games, and supporting the players.

“In 2020, the Olympics and the Paralympics will be held in Tokyo. In order to achieve the vision “Sports have the power to change the world and the future”, I believe that Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup will be playing a bigger role in making this happen. We want everyone to know that Kitakyushu City in Japan is hosting this international tournament called Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup every year.”

For more information about the tournament please visit the Kitakyushu Champions’ Cup website.