(Toronto, Ont.) In the final day of competition of the 2017 Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship, Great Britain has claimed first place after defeating Turkey. Australia joins them on the podium after their win against Japan in the bronze medal match.
1 – Great Britain
2 – Turkey
3 – Australia
4 – Japan
5 – Germany
6 – Canada
7 – France
8 – Iran
9 – United States
10 – Italy
11 – Brazil
12 – South Africa
True Sport Award Recipients: Anderson Parker (Australia), Phillipe Gonçalves (Brazil), Alexis Ramonet (France), Nico Dreimüller (Germany), Gregg Warburton (Great Britain), Mohammadhassan Sayari (Iran), Sabri Bedzeti (Italy), Takuya Furusawa (Japan), Ronald Nkomo (South Africa), Ahmet Efetürk (Turkey), Brent Regier (United States), Alex Hayward (Canada)
Tournament All Stars: Jim Palmer (Great Britain), Renshi Chokai (Japan), Tom O’Neill-Thorne (Australia), Takuya Furusawa (Japan), Ahmet Efetürk (Turkey)
Most Valuable Player: Gregg Warburton (Great Britain)
Game 41: Australia v Japan
Australia outplayed Japan in the battle for bronze at the 2017 Men’s U23 World Championship at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ont. Australia secured a spot on the podium with a 71-66 win against Japan.
Japan opened the match with a dominating performance, keeping constant pressure on the Australian offense and maintaining a small lead. While Australia managed to match the quick Japanese pace in the opening quarter, Japan pushed ahead to create a 14 point advantage by half.
As they’ve demonstrated before, the Australians would not be deterred when faced with a challenge. Coming back in the third quarter the Australians managed to tie the game and exchange baskets with Japan to end the quarter tied 51-51. Maintaining their explosive momentum, Australia’s Tom O’Neill-Thorne went on an eight point run in the opening of the fourth quarter to take the lead 59-51.
While Japan was able to fight back to make it a three point game with less than a minute on the clock, their push was not enough to take back the game. O’Neill-Thorne once again placed himself as top scorer of the game with 34 points and 15 rebounds. Teammate Jake Fulwood secured a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Takuya Fursawa contributed team-high 31 points for Japan.
Head coach of the Australian team Luke Brennan discussed his team’s performance, “We’ve always found ourselves down at half time during these games. I’m so proud of the boys, the way they continued to fight. The great thing about our group and the great thing about Australians is they’re always the underdogs they just never ever give up and the boys kept fighting and we managed to out-push them down the stretch. We didn’t have any expectations coming in, we just wanted to go out and continually get better and see what we end up doing and we’ve achieved exactly what we came here to do.”
Game 42: Great Britain v Turkey
Great Britain came out on top in the tournament with a 54-43 victory against the previously undefeated Turkey.
Both teams came out battling fiercely for the win. Turkey, led by Efetürk, outshot the British team in the opening quarter to carve out a five point lead. It became a one point game in the second quarter as Great Britain’s offense hit their stride while Turkey struggled to find the net. By half, Turkey held tentatively to a two point lead.
Great Britain rallied in the second half, spurred on by the boisterous crowd, to overcome Turkey’s lead in the second comeback story of the day. Turkey, with an uncharacteristically low shooting per cent, was unable to contend with the British attack. Great Britain finally took the lead in the third quarter and slowly widened the gap in the fourth to end the game with a convincing 11 point advantage.
Ben Fox notched 23 points for Great Britain and Efeturk countered with 18 points and 16 rebounds for a double double for Turkey.
Fox was ecstatic after the win, “It was just team spirit, this team’s been together for two years now, we’ve trained every single day and we worked so hard for this. Turkey, great opponents, we missed out in the European Championship to them, so to come back… You have to give your hands to Turkey, they’re great opponents. My teammates, I look at them, my best friends, and I can’t believe we’ve won.”
Great Britain’s Gregg Warburton discussed the team’s comeback after halftime as well, “A massive impact from the coaches, they gave us a really big talk and it helped us, but most of all we had 12 best friends. We’re really good friends and we fight for each other no matter what, that helped us masterfully. We did that against Germany, we came back at the halftime and had a better second half and we did exactly the same today. So just the friendship and the bond and the determination this group has, I’ve never seen it like any group before.”
About the Event
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is pleased to host the top junior male wheelchair basketball players on the planet from June 8-16, 2017 for the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
World-class athletes representing 12 nations, including host Canada, will converge at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto to showcase the elite skill and athleticism that make wheelchair basketball a thrilling spectator sport and one of the most popular sports for athletes with a disability in the world. Over 400 athletes, coaches, officials, delegates, and volunteers will attend the event.
Team Canada is in pursuit of a return to the top of the podium, having won back-to-back gold medals at the world championship for junior men in 1997 and 2001. Most recently, Canada placed sixth at the last world championship for junior men in 2013.
For more information visit: www.2017u23wwbc.com / #2017u23wwbc
About the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF)
The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the international governing body responsible for wheelchair basketball. It is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide opportunities for persons with a disability to play the game of wheelchair basketball. For more information, please visit www.iwbf.org.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sport governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games. For more information, please visit www.wheelchairbasketball.ca.