Action is underway at Asia-Oceania Championship
(Pretoria) The IWRF 2013 Asia Oceania Championship got underway at the LC De Villiers Sport Complex, University of Pretoria, South Africa with the opening game between hosts South Africa and one of its bitter rivals on the sporting field, Australia.
Whilst South Africa’s Wheelboks were first to light up the score board with an opening goal from Katherine (Kat) Swanepoel in the first few seconds of the match, the Australian Steelers were quick to close in with a solid response.
The Wheelboks fought hard against the 2012 London Paralympic gold medalists throughout the game, with Swanepoel and youngster Okker Anker scoring a further five goals a-piece, whilst Clyde Holland, Troye Collins, Victor Buitendag, Johnny Sutil, and Jared McIntyre added to the teams total score of 20.
Sterling contributions came from Australia’s Chris Bond, and Cameron Carr, but it was Ryley Batt who lived up to his ‘world’s best player’ status, by scoring a massive 29 points to take Australia to a first match victory score of 71.
Japan ranked fifth in the world rankings, took on ninth place New Zealand’s Wheelblacks in the second game of the day. The match was closely contested throughout with Daisuke Ikezaki dominating the score sheets for Japan adding 34 goals to Japans final winning score of 55. Wheelblack's Dan Buckingham scored close on 50 percent of New Zealand’s first match tally of 40.
After lunch break, Australia faced up to neighbour New Zealand with Batt opening the score line, Sholto Taylor from New Zealand levelling within the first minute. Australian then dominated with uncontested 16 consecutive points and took the lead in the first quarter. The Wheelblacks managed to pull back slightly in the final quarter, but the sheer world-class performance by Batt once again by putting in an overall 40 goals towards Australia’s grand total of 70-goal win over New Zealand’s final score of 43 after extra time.
The final match of the day saw hosts South Africa squaring up against Japan. Legend Shinichi Shimakawa steered Japan on a winning course with more than 20 goals to his credit. With the sounds of ‘Bokke’ chants from local spectators, saw South Africa push on to score most of their goals in the fourth and final quarter, but it was not enough and Japan took the match with a final score of 66 in reply to South Africa’s 31.
Tomorrow sees the Wheelblacks take on the Wheelboks in the opening match at 10h00, and the two unbeaten teams from Day 1, Japan and Australia face up at 12h00. After lunch break, at 16h00 South Africa meet Japan again, and New Zealand match up against Australia in the evening game starting at 18h00.
All matches stream live www.iwrf.com with regular updates on twitter and FaceBook.
Wheelchair rugby is fast, pure passion and adrenalin. Entrance to spectators is free, and are encouraged to come along and watch these world-class teams battle it out.1