The third day of the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships saw both China and Cambodia get their first wins of the tournament in the women’s competition defeating Japan and India, respectively. Thailand went top of the table in Division 2, after securing their second win against Afghanistan.
Cambodia and India are both in the infancy of their national women’s teams and they opened the day with a fairly even contest. There was great sportsmanship on show between the two sides and every basket scored was cheered for. Cambodia edged each of the first two quarters by two points, giving them a four-point advantage at the break, 16-12
It looked as if a comeback was on the cards for India in the third as they brought it back to a one-point ball game. The speed and fitness of the Cambodian athletes appeared to be the difference though, as India tired in the latter minutes of quarter. India again made another mini fightback in the fourth, but they couldn’t manage to get within five, as Cambodia pushed ahead to get their first win of this year’s championships, 40-29.
Captain Sinet An again dominated for Cambodia with her second double-double in two games, this time with 22 points and 18 rebounds; Chanthy Ho hitting 10 points. Jyoti Toralakar came off the bench to top score for India with 10 points.
China came out full of strength against Japan for their first game of the tournament as they aim to defend the title they claimed in 2017. It was a solid performance from them, dominating the first two quarters to go in at half-time up by twelve points, 26-14. They soon extended it to twenty points midway through the third period before Japan started to find their scoring touch. The Japanese finished strong and won the last quarter 16-8, but China already had enough of a margin to win the game, 48-40.
China’s Xuemei Zhang top scored and hit a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, with captain Suiling Lin making 12 points. Japan’s Mari Amimoto top scored for them with 17 points.
Thailand came into their game against Afghanistan off the back of a comfortable victory over India yesterday. They started well again and it was taking some time for Afghanistan, playing their first game of the tournament, to get in to the game. Leading 25-12 at half-time, Thailand put in a strong third quarter, 22-2, to leave themselves thirty-five points up going in to the final ten minutes. The Afghans kept their heads up and found scoring much easier in the fourth as they ended the game well to win the period, 21-11, but it was Thailand who got the win, 58-35, to go top of Division 2.
Top scorer for the game was Thailand’s Natnapa Ponin with 27 points, followed by Pawarati Jala with 13 points. Shabana Akbari hit a double-double for Afghanistan with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and captain Nilofar Bayat scored 10 points.
The championships, being hosted by the Sports Association for Wheelchair Basketball Thailand, will tell us which countries from the Asia Oceania Zone will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Tomorrow is the first full day of action with 10 matches over two courts over the course of the day.