International wheelchair basketball will return to Japan next year in the form of the IWBF Men’s U23 World Championship. The event will take place between 27 May – 4 June 2022 at the Chiba Port Arena in Chiba, Japan.

The Championship, which showcases elite junior male players of the sport, was originally scheduled for 2021 but had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The top 12 countries from the four Zones will come together to compete for the World title. The five European teams already qualified are Spain, Germany, Turkey, Israel, and France. Three teams from the Asia Oceania Zone will join hosts Japan. The team from Africa will be decided in December at the U23 Afro Championship whilst the two spots from the Americas will be determined at their equivalent U23 World Qualifying Tournament.

IWBF Competition Commission Chairman, Charlie Bethel, said:

“We are delighted to be able to host this World Championship in Japan following the success of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the excitement that was created for the sport of wheelchair basketball especially with the success of the Japanese Men’s team. We hope to be able to capture this enthusiasm and further inspire audiences in Japan and the world with the future stars of our sport.”

JWBF President, Toshihiko TAMAGAWA, said:

“The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Wheelchair Basketball Tournament ended with an impressive result, with the Japan Men’s National Team winning the silver medal for the first time in history and the Japan Women’s National Team finishing in 6th place. I believe that the young players who will lead the next generation of Japan will move to realize that excitement again. We look forward to the success of the U23 Men’s Japan National Team.”

The IWBF Men’s U23 World Championship is normally held every four years with 12 countries participating. The upcoming championship will be the 7th edition of the event and the first time it will be held in Asia. The previous championship took place in 2017 (Toronto, Canada), where Great Britain won gold and Japan finished fourth.

To be eligible to compete, male players must be born on or after 1st January 1999. This is keeping the same age category as if the event was held in 2021 to ensure no players who would have been eligible in the previous year miss out because of the postponement.

The draw and schedule will be completed once all the qualified countries have been confirmed in early 2022.

For further information on how to volunteer or get involved please contact the Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation.

(Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Wheelchair Basketball Canada)