The 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Championship commenced in Beijing, China today (Monday 23rd October) and there were no surprises on day one, with all the favoured teams winning their opening games.

In the closest game of the day host country China, and the favourites to win the women’s competition defeated the Australian Gliders 53-44.  The opening quarter was an even affair with both teams exchanging baskets, but am Australian turnover at the end of the first gave China a slight four-point advantage. China continued to build on this advantage in the second quarter, as Australia struggled to contain the Chinese and a fine shooting performance Suiling Lin, China led 24-14. After the halftime break, China continued to control the game and extended their lead out to 19 points going into the final quarter. Australia rallied and fought courageously to close the margin to just 8 points, but it wasn’t enough, and China took home the win, 53-44.  Suiling Lin shot 7 from 13 to finish with 15 points and was well supported by Jiameng Dai with 14 points. For Australia Cobi Crispin secured a double double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, assisted by Amber Merritt’s 11 points. Statistics

Opening the day of action, China men easily accounted for Afghanistan winning 87-34. For China Huajun Tan with 23 points (9 from 12) and 8 rebounds led his team well and was supported by Lei Yang who finished with 16 points (7 from 10) and 5 rebounds.  Afghanistan’s top scorer was Alem Muradi with 9 points. Statistics

Japan secured comfortable wins in both the men and women’s competitions. Led by Hirokai Kozai’s 18 points, the Japanese men opened their Asia Oceania Championship campaign defeating Kuwait 96-21. Statistics

Similarly, their women’s team overcame Iran women, who were making their debut at the Asia Oceania Championships. The experience and depth of the Japanese team were too much for Iran who tallied 15 points to Japan’s 86. Momoko Suzuki top-scored for Japan with 17 points and was well supported by Mari Amimoto’s double double 14 points and 10 rebounds. Statistics

The Australian Rollers also got off to a good start, hitting triple digits again Iraq, who are back in the competition after a six-year hiatus. All but one of the Australian players got their name on the scoresheet as they overpowered Iraq, 107 -23.  Michael Auprince led Australia with 21 points and 3 rebounds, followed closely by Bill Latham (18 points) and Shaun Norris (16 points).  For Iraq Saif Al Taie scored 6 points whilst Thamer Mandeel and Hayder Al Sarraj made 4 points each. Statistics

Iran men showed that they will be hotly contesting for one of the four spots at next year’s World Championships in Hamburg with dominant performance over Saudi Arabia, 85 – 31.  Saudi Arabia were unable to contain the Iran offence and the duo of Mohammadhasan Sayari and Omid Hadiazhar, who scored 21 points (8 from 12) and 20 points (9 from 11), respectively.  Essam Buayti top-scored for Saudi Arabia with 9 points. Statistics

In the most competitive men’s game of the day, Thailand and New Zealand went head to head. A great defensive performance from New Zealand in the opening quarter stifled Thailand’s attack, and gave New Zealand three-point lead heading into the first break (15-12). In the second quarter Thailand’s Aekkasit Jumjarea and Pongsakorn Sripirom found their range and were unstoppable, driving Thailand to win the quarter, 22 – 6 and giving them a thirteen-point lead at the break. In an entertaining second half, it was Thailand who extended their lead and took home a 31 points win, 81-54. Thailand’s Jumjarea led all scorers on the opening day with 32 points, with Sripirom also adding 20. New Zealand’s top scorers were Sheldon Larsen who finished with 17 points and Reo Lewis with 12. Statistics

Concluding the action for day one on Court 2 saw Korea defeat United Arab Emirates (UAE), Korea opened the game with extensive defensive pressure giving them an early commanding lead, 26-2, at the first break. As the UAE struggled to find the basket throughout the game, Korea were clinical in offense shooting at 64% and guaranteeing them a 90-21 win.  Korea’s top scorer was Gim Donghyeon with 18 (9 from 10) and 9 rebounds, tracked by Kim Sangyeol and Cho Seunghyun both with 16 points each. Tariq Alyassi led UAE with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Statistics

Tomorrow’s games will open with what promises to be an exciting match between the Australian Gliders and Japan women at 10am, followed by China women up against Iran at 12.15.  In the men’s competition New Zealand will match up against Iran whilst Chinese Taipei will play their first game of the tournament against reigning champions the Australian Rollers. Hong Kong will make their debut at the Asia Oceania Championships against Kuwait, whilst Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia both face tough challenges up against Korea and Thailand, respectively. Host’s China men will be looking for a second win when they meet UAE at 2.30pm.

Full schedule and results on the 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania Championships