The field of competition for wheelchair basketball at the London 2012 Paralympic Summer Games is now set as the qualification process came to a close over the weekend.
The Mexican women’s wheelchair basketball team claimed the final spot at the Paralympics with two victories over South Africa in a three-game playoff series March 2-4, 2012.
Mexico will join teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States to complete the field of competition for the women’s division in London. On the men’s side, teams from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Turkey and the United States will compete in London.
The Paralympic Games take place August 29th to September 9th, 2012 in London, England.
Complete Qualification Recap
At the European Championship in Israel, the Spanish men’s team finished third behind Great Britain and Germany to mark their return to the world stage after a 16-year absence. In contrast, the French – silver medallists at the World Championship in Birmingham – finished a disappointing 11th.
On the women’s side, the French finished fourth – behind Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain – to bring their own long absence from the Paralympics to an end.
In the Africa Championships, the disappointment of not having defending champions Algeria on hand was offset by a series of close and enthralling games. Morocco and Egypt battled until the very end for the right to face South Africa in the title game.
The Moroccans reached the Final but in that contest the South Africans proved too strong, winning 83-54 to make up for missing out on the World Championship by being the sole African representative at the Paralympics.
In the Asia/Oceania Championships, the men’s competition saw close games between Japan and Korea but ultimately it was Australia who took top honours as they defeated Japan for gold. Both teams advanced to London.
On the women’s side, a double round robin saw each team in the top three – Australia, China and Japan – beat each other. China caused a surprise by defeating Japan for the right to face Australia for gold, with the latter holding out for a 55-54 win.
The Americas qualification tournament took place as part of the Parapan American Games with eight teams in each division taking part. In the men’s quarter-finals, the competition was so close that six of the eight teams could have ended up playing for gold. Mexico defeated Brazil 60-58 to force the latter into the bottom half of the draw while Colombia held off a strong Argentina side 54-53 to relegate them to the consolation games as well.
This set the stage for a semi-final clash between Colombia against Canada. To the surprise of most people in attendance, Colombia won to leave Canada fighting for the final Paralympic spot against Mexico who had lost to the United States.
The medal games ended with the United States defeating Colombia for gold and Canada overcoming the disappointment of the earlier loss to Colombia to defeat Mexico for bronze and the all-important third place. Colombia will make their debut in wheelchair basketball at a Paralympic Games.
On the women’s side, Canada and the United States dominated play but it was encouraging to see the growth in the teams that finished third to sixth. A surprisingly strong Brazil side came out on top against Mexico to clinch a place in London while the USA defeated Canada to take gold.
Mexico, as the fourth place team at the Parapan American Games, earned the right to take on South Africa in a three-game playoff series, which took place in March 2012, to determine the final spot for the women’s Paralympic tournament. Mexico won the first two games of the series, 69-32 and 66-27, respectively, to secure the final spot in London.