Wheelchair rugby’s biggest stars to collide in murderball final
By Beau Greenway
In a repeat of the 2012 London Paralympics gold medal match, the 2014 IWRF World Championship final will be contested between Australia and Canada tomorrow afternoon at the Arena Fyn in Odense, Denmark.
The tournaments two most outstanding players, Zak Madell and Ryley Batt, will play a huge part in the determining the winner.
In today’s action, Canada upset the USA’s hopes of winning a fifth world championship title with a 59-56 victory in overtime.
Zak Madell was at his absolute best for the victors and he couldn’t be happier to be playing in his first World Championship final.
"I feel absolutely incredible, we always have close games with the US, they are our biggest rival and today we managed to come out on top," Madell said.
"We came out fired up, we had a rough loss to them at our zone qualifiers last year, and we kept that in the back of our minds over the whole year while we were training for the tournament."
Everybody on the team was so positive, no one lost hope at any time and because of that we managed to claw our way back into the game, I am hoping we can carry this momentum forward and maybe go get ourselves a gold medal.
USA Captain Joe Delagrave was almost speechless after the tough result going against his team.
"It feels terrible, our goal all along was to be number one and be the World champions", Delagrave said.
"We had a couple more turnovers and that's kind of the story but hats off to Zak Madell, we hadn't seen him since last year and it is clear that he is one of the best players in the world, he was hard to stop today."
World No.2 Australia were firing on all cylinders in the other semifinal as they outclassed Japan 60-49.
Ryley Batt led the way for the Australians into their second successive World Championship final.
"We have been in this position many times before but we still have one more game to go," Batt said.
"We like playing against Japan, we match up well against them and they are a tough team, on a personal note l liked seeing the other lineups out there getting turnovers and holding their own."
"In 2008 in Beijing we were in this position and lost in the final so as much as I am happy on the inside to be guaranteed at least a silver medal, we want the gold against Canada tomorrow."
Chris Bond is also excited to be playing in his first World Championship final against a Canadian side the Australian’s have already beaten this week.
"We will go in with a bit of confidence having beaten them before in this tournament, we just have to get off to a great start and hope our fitness pulls us through."
"Zak (Madell) has come a long way since I first saw him play and he is a big gun of wheelchair rugby now. We definitely respect him, but we are going to go in and try put some big hits on him and get one over him and Canada."
Shin Nakazato believes that the Japanese team in not quite at Australia’s level and they need to work on a few things for next time.
"To be able to compete with a team like Australia we need to clean up our easy mistakes and be more consistent."
Four matches will be played on the final day of the tournament starting with the playoff matches for 5th to 8th place before the bronze, silver and gold medalists are decided.
All matches will be played on court two at the Arena Fyn so make sure to check them out on the link below.
Live commentary will once again available on Facebook and Twitter.
All of the photos from the finals and the matches earlier in the tournament can be viewed on Flickr.