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27 September 2010

USA wins World Wheelchair Rugby Championships

The USA will start as hot favorites to win gold, and defend their Paralympic title in London 2012, after securing another World Wheelchair Rugby Championships over the weekend.


After six days of intense competition involving 12 nations, the USA secured their fourth world title in five Championships with a hard fought 57:45 victory over Australia in Vancouver, Canada.


USA’s high scorer Will Groulx said: “Every Championship is very special. We work really hard and every team is different that we play with. We even overcame some adversity in playing some very tough games.”


Despite claiming a silver medal in Canada - Australia’s best finish in a World Championship – Head Coach Brad Dubberley was disappointed that his side saved their worst performance of the Championships for the final against Team USA. “Obviously we were playing a great opponent in the USA, but I can’t remember playing a worst game. We made so many errors and dumb plays,” Mr. Dubberley said. “It’s very disappointing. Today was a great chance for us to become World Champions but we didn’t perform when we needed to.”


The bronze medal game saw a compelling game between Japan and Sweden, both in their first international medal game ever. Buoyed on by a passionate crowd dressed in fancy dress costumers, Japan came from behind in the first quarter to run out 53:48 winners.


After the game, Team Japan hoped that their first-ever bronze medal would help the Paralympic Sport grow back home. "It is the best day ever," said Japanese player Shin Shimakawa. "My dream hasn’t come true yet, which is for gold, but this was the aim. We think many new players will start playing Wheelchair Rugby in Japan. Maybe we will be able to get some money from the government to help us."


Fans of Wheelchair Rugby who had their eyes on the World Championships from 21-26 September, will be watching the Paralympic Sport grow in the coming years following a new partnership announced on 21 September between the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The partnership aims at both global governing bodies sharing knowledge and experience for further development of both sports.


The groundbreaking collaboration between the two governing bodies follows initial meetings held earlier this year between representatives from the IWRF and IRB. These explored ways in which both organizations can work together on key areas such as athlete welfare, exchanging of training materials and cross-promotion.