Rollers to feature in London Gold Medal Re-Match.
The Australian Rollers will take on their fiercest rivals Canada in a replay of the London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medal game when the Kitakyushu 50th Anniversary Commemorative International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament takes place in November in Japan.
The long-standing rivalry between the two countries will be revived as they compete in a four team tournament alongside the Japan & Korean national teams.
This will be the first time the teams will face off since Canada defeated Australia 64-58 in the Gold Medal final in London and one of only a handful of times they have met outside Paralympic and World Championship competition.
The rivalry between the two countries goes back decades with the last three Paralympic Gold Medal matches bringing the two teams face to face. Canada won gold in 2004 in Athens and 2012 in London, whilst the Rollers won gold in Beijing in 2008.
Canada will be without recently retired superstar Patrick Anderson who was pivotal in their win in London.
Rollers Head Coach Ben Ettridge said regardless of Anderson, it will be about Australia going through the process and preparing for the Asia Oceania Zone (AOZ) Championships.
“The major focus for the Rollers is qualifying for World Championships and Kitakyushu will form part of the lead into the qualifiers. Although it is not a major focus, it is a major part of our preparation,” said Ettridge
At the conclusion of the tournament Australia, Japan and Korea will head directly from Kitakyushu to Bangkok, Thailand to compete in the AOZ Championships to secure a place in next year’s World Championships. With Korea automatically qualified as the host, Australia will be competing with 9 other teams from the Asia Oceania Zone for just three places available.
The Kitakyushu 50th Anniversary Commemorative International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament will be held at the Kitakyushu City General Gymnasium on the 15th – 17th November, 2013.
Photo credit Getty Images.