Japan have defeated previous World Champions the Australian Steelers 62-61 – taking home Gold at the GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship today at Sydney Olympic Park.
Japan built momentum during the second quarter, leading at halftime by four goals. Japan fought hard to keep the momentum and secure the Gold.
Japan’s coach Kevin Orr was thrilled with Japan’s performance.
“There was some great momentum. To get a win this Championship is just incredible,” said Orr.
“Our goal is to win a Gold Medal at the Paralympic Games. Australia is a great team so we took this as a learning moment – to win again them is just awesome.”
“We’re proud of our team to have such a good performance to boost our sport. We want the world to know that we’re contenders and I’m really excited about the way our team played today.”
The Steelers had an almost flawless week - remaining undefeated through the Preliminary and Crossover Rounds – scoring the best performing goal difference of 116.
Australia’s Captain, Ryley Batt was proud of how the Steelers played – pulling back after a four-point disadvantage at halftime.
“They played well. I was so proud of the boys. I didn’t believe we would get it back – then we pulled up by two points,” said Batt.
“We can’t always be at the top, we’ve been at the top for six years.”
The Gold Medal match drew a large crowd and was played in front of a tremendous atmosphere who cheered on both teams.
His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of New South Wales and patron of the IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship was in attendance at the game – congratulating the athlete’s on their achievements and performance during the Closing Ceremony.
“I thank the teams and coaches, you have all represented your country with great pride and with great skill,” said His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of New South Wales.
“This is not the end though for wheelchair rugby, there are other tournaments to come and achievements to be made.”
The US took home Bronze, defeating Great Britain 47-36 earlier today. Great Britain placed fourth at the 2018 World Championship.
“I was really pleased with how we played today. I’m proud of the guys and our performance,” said USA’s Chuck Aoki.
Results and Placements at the GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship
France placed fifth, defeating Canada – who placed sixth - 52-51.
Denmark defeated Sweden 51-48, placing Denmark seventh and Sweden eighth.
Poland finished ninth, defeating Colombia – who placed tenth – 44-39.
New Zealand ended eleventh, defeating Ireland – who placed twelfth and did not see a win this Championship – 51-40.