In Division 2 of the women’s competition at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships taking place in Pattaya, Thailand, Afghanistan got their first win of the tournament over India in a game full of fight and determination.
Afghanistan came out the blocks the quicker of the two teams and went on a 10-0 run to open up an early lead, but India weren’t giving up and came back fighting to bring the deficit back to six points at the end of the first quarter, 14-8. The Indians struggled to score in the second, as Afghanistan went in to the half-time break up 25-11.
With the enthusiastic support of both men’s teams supporting loudly from the sideline throughout the game, it clearly boosted the teams on court. The third and fourth quarters followed in a similar pattern to the first two, 16-9 and 14-6. India could not deal with the height of the Afghan team, as they slotted home 50 of their points from inside the paint to take their first win, 55-26.
Suchitra Parida led the Indian team with 8 points and 14 rebounds, whilst three players hit double figures for Afghanistan: Somaya Noori and Arzo Amiri with 12 each and Latifa Sakhi Zada with 11.
In Division 1, the Australian Gliders came back from a six-point deficit at half-time to defeat Japan by just three points, 56-53.
The teams traded baskets in the first quarter as Australia held a one-point advantage, 15-14, going in to the second. Poor defence from Australia allowed Japan good looks at the basket to take the quarter 15-8 and lead by six at half-time.
The third period belonged to the Australians, 18-11, setting up a nail-biting final quarter, as they again held the lead by just one point. As Australia fought to extend their lead in the fourth, opening up a gap of six points, Japan clung on and brought it back to two with less than two minutes remaining. They could only manage one more basket in that time though – a three-pointer from Mari Amimoto with 12 seconds left – but by that time the Australians had opened up another six-point gap, and were able to take the win to move to the top of Division 1.
Australia’s Annabelle Lindsay hit a double-double of 25 points and 17 rebounds and Amber Merritt chipped in with 19 points. Chihiro Kitada got herself a double-double for Japan of 26 points and 14 rebounds.
In the final women’s game of the day, hosts Thailand maintained their winning ways and went 3-0 in Division 2 with a comfortable 51-34 victory over Iran.
A commanding performance in the first quarter saw Thailand give themselves an early advantage of nine points, up 17-8. That lead grew in the second period to thirteen points by half-time, 27-14. Iran showed more of what they could do in the third quarter even though Thailand won it 12-8, and that continued in the fourth as Iran managed to hold their opponents and draw it 12-12, but Thailand knew they had the game won, and were able to inflict Iran’s first loss of the tournament.
Thailand’s Natnapa Ponin topped all scorers with a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds, with Pawarati Jala scoring 10 points. Somayeh Kohzadpour top scored for Iran with 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.
Photograph copyright – X1