Hosts Japan win the Mitsubishi Electric World Challenge Cup after defeating last year’s winners Australia in the final.
Four national teams, Australia, Germany, Canada and hosts Japan competed in the World Challenge Cup, which took place at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, between the 8th – 10th June 2018.
Organised by the Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation, the tournament is aimed not only to assist in strengthening the men’s national team but held for the purpose to prepare Japan for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The opening day saw wins for Japan and Australia over Germany and Canada, respectively.
Japan continued their form into the second day and surprised current World Champions Australia, with a 52 – 44 win in the first contest. Australia led by two points at the last change but could not hold off a fourth-quarter charge from Japan and scored just six points in the final frame.
Canada got their first win, 65-58, over Germany at the beginning of day two, after storming to a 39 – 26 lead in the first half.
Japan’s second win of the day was over Canada, despite trailing at halftime Japan came back to take the game, 64 – 53 and a place in the final. Whilst Australia Rollers finished the day on a high and secured the other place in the final, defeating Germany, 69-51.
The third/fourth play-off saw Canada again edge out Germany, 56 – 49, assisted by Nik Goncin’s 18 points.
In the final Australia Rollers suffered a similar fate to their first meeting against Japan, as they found themselves unable to match Japan’s intensity down the stretch, allowing the home side to pull away in front of a loud home crowd and take the win, 65-56.
The tournament also included two women’s showcases matches presented by Nippon Life between Japan and Australia. Again, it was the hosts Japan who took both games as their experience showed against a young developing Australian team, 56 – 42 and 51 – 39.
The World Challenge Cup, is a friendly tournament designed not only to prepare the national teams for the upcoming World Championships, but it is also to expand the movement of wheelchair basketball in Japan, such as increasing the level of international referees, table officials and the training of competition volunteers, to support its preparations for Tokyo 2020.
It is also positioned as an opportunity for the local residents including children to participate in the Paralympics interests, to activate local communities and legacy, including overseas teams participating in the competition and experiencing during pre-camping in neighbouring municipalities.
All Star Five
(Pictured Left to Right)
Takayoshi Iwai (JPN – 1.0), Jan Haller (GER – 2.0), Hiroaki Kozai (JPN – 3.5), Tom O’Neill Thorne (AUS – 3.0), Pat Anderson (CAN – 4.5)
Full statistics (Japanese version – it is advised to open in google chrome and translate to view in English)