Fifteen countries will be represented at the IWBF 2019 Asia Oceania Championships, which is being hosted by the Thailand Wheelchair Basketball Association at the Eastern National Sports Centre in Pattaya, Thailand.

Fourteen men’s teams and eight women’s teams will compete in the championships between the 29th November – 7th December in a bid to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Asia Oceania Zone has four spots available for the men and three spots available for the women at Tokyo 2020, with one spot in each competition already allocated to Japan as host country.

The eight women’s teams competing will make up the biggest ever women’s competition that has happened at an Asia Oceania Championship.

IWBF Asia Oceania Zone Secretary General, Don Perriman, said:

“We are very pleased to be able to boast another growth in teams at this year’s championships. The zone has put a lot of effort in recent times towards expanding the game in the region by running women’s development camps and also by supporting the workforce in these countries with various coaching, referee and classifier clinics, and the hard work is paying off.”

This year’s tournament will also introduce a new format for both the men’s and the women’s competitions by having two divisions.

Commenting on the new format, Perriman continued:

“The decision to split the countries over two divisions and host all teams at one championships was to address the clear difference in standard between some of the countries with more established wheelchair basketball programmes to some of the newer developing nations. The solution is to allow the developing nations to have the opportunity to meet and watch what some regard as their idols in the sport, playing top class basketball for some of the world’s top teams, and also to have competitive matches themselves.”

In the men’s competition the six top ranked teams – Australia, Iran, Japan, Korea, China, and Thailand – will play in Division A, which will be a single round robin to determine 1-6 in the ranking. The other eight teams – Afghanistan, Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia – will be drawn into two pools of four in Division B and will also play in a single round robin to determine placing, followed by crossovers, semi-finals and then a final to determine which are the top two teams in Division B.

Once Division B has concluded, the top two teams will become the 7th and 8th ranked teams in Division A to make up the quarter-final pairings. Teams 9 to 14 will play ranking games to decide lower placings.

A similar format will be conducted in the women’s competition. The top three ranked teams in the region – Australia, China, and Japan – will play a double round robin in Division A to arrive at a 1-3 ranking for this tournament.

The five other women’s teams – Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Iran and Thailand – will play in a round robin in Division B. The winner of Division B will then join Division A to be the 4th ranked team to make up the semi-final pairings. Teams 5-8 will play ranking games to decide lower placings.

Click here for further information about the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships