Canadian Teams Set to Take on the World in Hamburg

(Ottawa, Ont.) The Canadian men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams have trained harder than ever and are set for opening tip off at the largest World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in history next week in Hamburg, Germany.

The top 16 men’s teams and top 12 women’s teams on the globe will compete from August 16-26, 2018 as history is made at the Wilhelmsburger Inselparkarena for what promises to be 10 days of fierce competition.

Team Canada Women

Canada is the defending world champion and is vying for its eighth consecutive podium finish at a world championship. The Canadian women have reached the podium at every world championship since the inaugural event in 1990, winning gold five times and bronze twice. The 2018 squad features five returning athletes from 2014 who won the gold medal on home soil in Toronto, while five are making their debut at a major international tournament.

Leading the way for Canada are Paralympians and world champions Melanie Hawtin, Maude Jacques, Cindy Ouellet, Tamara Steeves and Arinn Young. Fellow Paralympians Erica Gavel and Rosalie Lalonde add to the core leadership group of the team, while newcomers Sandrine Bérubé, Kady Dandeneau, Puisand Lai, Tara Llanes and Élodie Tessier will inject speed, skill and grit into the lineup as they compete at their first world championships.

“The first time you come out on court, it just hits you – we’re here, this is real, we’re about to fight for a gold medal,” says Young. “I hope the fans and all the other teams are ready for it because every single team is going to be coming out swinging for that medal and honestly I’m just really pumped to be a part of it all.”

The reigning world champion Canadians will face Spain, Great Britain, Brazil, Australia, and the Netherlands in Pool A.

Preliminary Game Schedule

August 17 – 8 a.m. ET – Canada vs Great Britain
August 18 – 6:15 a.m. ET – Spain vs Canada
August 19 – 11:30 a.m. ET – Australia vs Canada
August 21 – 12 p.m. ET – Canada vs Netherlands
August 22 – 3:30 a.m. ET – Canada vs Brazil

The United States, Algeria, France, Argentina, China, and Germany make up Pool B.

Team Canada Men

Canada is a mix of seasoned veteran players and young athletes making their major international debut. Five athletes on the team are Paralympic gold medalists, while two are world champions. Canada last secured a spot on the podium at the 2006 World Championships by winning the gold medal in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This was their sixth consecutive world championship podium finish in history (1986-2006).

Many eyes will be on Patrick Anderson, one of the best players to ever play the game, who returns to major international competition for the first time since the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Joining Anderson are fellow London 2012 gold medalists David Eng, Bo Hedges, Chad Jassman and Tyler Miller. Emerging stars Nik Goncin, Ben Moronchuk and Jonathan Vermette will complement the veteran group as they take on key roles and build on their first Paralympic experience at Rio 2016. Meanwhile, the youth movement continues to build within the team with the additions of Vincent Dallaire, Colin Higgins, Lee Melymick and Garrett Ostepchuk.

“Other than the Paralympics, this is the biggest championship we have in the sport. There is not a lot of room for error,” says Miller. “To go and play against the best players in the world at the highest level, in the best facilities, nothing gets better than that.”

There are four pools on the men’s side, with Canada battling against hosts Germany, as well as Morocco and Iran in Pool A.

Preliminary Game Schedule

August 17 – 5:45 a.m. ET – Morocco vs Canada
August 19 – 12 p.m. ET – Germany vs Canada
August 20 – 6:15 a.m. ET – Canada vs Iran

Pool B includes current Paralympic champions the United States, along with South Korea, Poland and Great Britain. Turkey, Brazil, Japan, and Italy make up Pool C. Pool D consists of current world champions Australia, competing against Argentina, Spain, and the Netherlands.

The Competition

Men

Argentina – Pool D

• This will be Argentina’s third appearance at a world championship, where their highest finish was 10th place in 1994
• Incheon 2014: 12th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 3rd place (Americas)

Australia – Pool D

• Australia will be attempting to tie the record in men’s competition with a third consecutive gold medal at the world championships
• Incheon 2014: 1st place
• Rio 2016: 6th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Asia-Oceania)

Brazil – Pool C

• Brazil will be returning to the world championships stage for the first time in 12 years since their last appearance in 2006
• Rio 2016: 5th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 4th place (Americas)

Germany – Pool A

• Germany’s team consists of a good mix of young, up-and-coming talents, as well as experienced leaders
• Incheon 2014: 11th place
• Rio 2016: 8th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 3rd place (Europe)

Great Britain – Pool B

• Great Britain will be a strong contender in their pool after a successful summer, including an undefeated tournament at the 2018 Continental Clash
• Incheon 2014: 7th place
• Rio 2016: 3rd place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 2nd place (Europe)

Iran – Pool A

• This is Iran’s second appearance at a world championship; the team is led by centre Morteza Ebrahimi, Mohammadhasan Sayari and Omid Hadiazha, who was named MVP at last year’s qualifier
• Incheon 2014: 8th place
• Rio 2016: 10th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 2nd place (Asia-Oceania)

Italy – Pool C

• Incheon 2014: 5th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 7th place (Europe)

Japan – Pool C

• Japan is a team on the rise and are coming to Hamburg on a high after having a great summer of competition, including a gold medal at the Mitsubishi Electric World Challenge Cup in early June, defeating reigning world champions, Australia, in the finals
• Incheon 2014: 9th place
• Rio 2016: 9th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 3rd place (Asia-Oceania)

Morocco – Pool A

• Morocco caused an upset in the 2017 Africa Qualifier, knocking out favourites Algeria
• First time competing at a world championships
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Africa)

Netherlands – Pool D

• The Netherlands have had a rigorous training and competition schedule this summer, travelling the world and competing in friendly tournaments to prepare for Hamburg
• Incheon 2014: 15th place
• Rio 2016: 7th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 4th place (Europe)

Poland – Pool B

• Poland brings a strong, athletic roster to compete in Hamburg
• Last appearance at the international level was at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, where they placed 8th
• Their last appearance at the world championships was at the 2010 Birmingham, UK games, where they placed 6th
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 6th place (Europe)

South Korea – Pool B

• Incheon 2014: 6th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 4th place (Asia-Oceania)

Spain – Pool D

• Spain is coming in to Hamburg with their youngest squad yet. Their two new additions include 17 and 18-year-old Pablo Lavandeira and Ignacio Ortega, said to be two extremely promising players to ever come out of Spain
• Incheon 2014: 4th place
• Rio 2016: 2nd place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 5th place (Europe)

Turkey – Pool C

• Always a strong contender, Turkey is looking for another podium finish
• Incheon 2014: 3rd place
• Rio 2016: 4th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Europe)

USA – Pool B

• USA will be bringing in a strong team to compete in Hamburg, with 10 Paralympic gold medalists on their roster
• Incheon 2014: 2nd place
• Rio 2016: 1st place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Americas)

Women

Algeria – Pool B
• Algeria will be making its world championship debut for the first time in Hamburg
• Rio 2016: 10th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Africa)

Argentina – Pool B

• This will be Argentina’s first world championship
• Argentina’s strengths lie in their depth and stamina, led by top point producer Maria Pallares
• Rio 2016: 9th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 4th place (Americas)

Australia – Pool A

• Australia is back on the world stage and looking to make an impression after missing out on the Rio 2016 Paralympics
• Toronto 2014: 6th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 2nd place (Asia-Oceania)

Brazil – Pool A

• Toronto 2014: 11th place
• Rio 2016: 7th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 3rd place (Americas)

China – Pool B

• Toronto 2014: 7th place
• Rio 2016: 6th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Asia-Oceania)

France – Pool B

• This will be France’s fifth appearance at a world championships with their highest finish being fifth when they hosted the tournament in 1990
• Toronto 2014: 8th place
• Rio 2016: 8th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 4th place (Europe)

Germany – Pool B

• Hosts Germany has a mix of experienced athletes and young junior players and is looking for another podium finish
• Toronto 2014: 2nd place
• Rio 2016: 2nd place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 2nd place (Europe)

Great Britain – Pool A

• Great Britain is looking to continue their progression after being centralized since September and having a strong training and competition schedule all year
• Toronto 2014: 5th place
• Rio 2016: 4th place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 3rd place (Europe)

Netherlands – Pool A

• The Netherlands will be bringing tough competition in Hamburg and are hungry to be the first ever European women’s team to win a world championship
• Toronto 2014: 3rd place
• Rio 2016: 3rd place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 1st place (Europe)

Spain – Pool A

• Spain is returning to the world championship stage after 24 years after qualifying for the first time. They played in 1990 (finished 8th) and 1994 (finished 10th).
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 5th place (Europe)

USA – Pool B

• Aside from the 2014 World Championships, USA has returned home with a medal from every world championship, accumulating two gold medals and four silver medals in total
• USA is coming to Hamburg with a very young team, with an average age of 18.5. Their two veteran players are only 22 years old, both of which were on the Rio 2016 squad that captured gold
• Toronto 2014: 4th place
• Rio 2016: 1st place
• Qualifier for Hamburg: 2nd place (Americas)

Keep up to date by visiting our website with the full schedule and results and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as both Canadian teams compete for the World Championship title.

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