Ones to watch for 2017 for wheelchair rugby announced
On Monday (9 September), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) started the process of announcing Ones to Watch athletes for all 22 Paralympic summer sports for 2017, beginning with archery and wheelchair rugby.
Selected in partnership the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF), the Ones to Watch athletes are individuals who have the potential to make the headlines during the next Paralympic cycle ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
With one eye on the next Paralympic Games, many of this year’s Ones to Watch are young athletes who will develop between now and Tokyo 2020. Others are Paralympic and world medallists looking to stay at the top of their game.
Between now and 19 January, the IPC will announce Ones to Watch athletes in two sports each day. Around 230 athletes from 22 sports will be named Ones to Watch for 2017 in an effort to make it easier for the public and media to understand which athletes to look out for.
The 2017 Ones to Watch for wheelchair rugby are:
Chuck Aoki (USA)
One of the world’s best 3.0 players who was part of the US team that suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Australia in the Rio 2016 gold medal match.
Daisuke Ikezaki (JPN)
Ikezaki helped Japan win bronze at Rio 2016 and defeat Paralympic champions Australia in 2015 to win the Asia-Oceania Zonal Championships. Could be the star at Tokyo 2020.
James Roberts (GBR)
Roberts was part of the British team that won the European title in 2015 and finished fifth at Rio 2016. He will be hoping Great Britain can retain their European crown this summer.
Ryley Batt (AUS)
Tomas Hjert (SWE)
The former ice hockey player was instrumental in Sweden’s qualification for Rio 2016. This summer he will hope Sweden can win the European crown they last won in 2013.
Zak Madell (CAN)
Julio Braz (BRA)
The standout player for hosts Brazil at Rio 2016 whose aim this year will be to qualify his side for the 2018 World Championships.
Leon Jorgensen (DEN)
The 3.0 players is Denmark’s most consistent offensive weapon and this year will be hoping to qualify his side for the 2018 World Championships with a strong showing at the Europeans.
Jonathan Hivernat (FRA)
The key man in the French team that will be looking to improve this summer on their fifth place finish at the last European Championships.
Maia Amai (NZL)
The lone female member of the New Zealand team will be hoping her team can qualify for the 2018 World Championships in Australia.