The Australian Under-23 Spinners wheelchair basketball team are headed to Bangkok, Thailand for the IWBF AOZ Qualifying Tournament from Monday, January 23- Saturday, January 28 with three teams to advance to the World Championships in Canada this June.
Australia will compete against China, India, Iran, Japan and Thailand in a round robin format where they will face each team once before the Semi-Finals are held on Friday, January 27.
The winners of those two Semi’s will gain automatic entry to the World Championships but will still play off for first place while the losers of the Semi’s will play off for third and the final World Champs berth.
The selected Australian team consists of 11 members who competed together at the Kitakyushu Cup last November.
Harry Lynch is unfortunately absent from the team, withdrawing for health reasons but he is sure to get further opportunities down the road.
“The team has been evaluated on their performances at various events over the past 18 months,” said head coach Luke Brennan.
“These events include the Fazza tournament in Dubai, the ADC and Sunny Coast Tournament, the Kevin Coombs Cup and our most recent tournament, the Kitakyushu Cup.
“The fact that almost everyone has had some exposure to international basketball will be a great advantage to us as we know what to expect.
“The Japan tour was a great way for us to start to gel as a team and I expect that to continue in Bangkok.”
That tournament also enabled the Australians to get an important scout of the Japanese team.
“We were lucky enough to play against Japan [but] everyone else is a bit of an unknown. We are expecting no easy games.”
While this tournament is obviously important as a gateway to the World Championships in June, the Under-23 level also provides a stepping stone to the Australian Rollers national team.
“The U23s pathway is massively important. It allows our juniors to get valuable exposure to international basketball. This experience is essential for anyone who wants to play for the Rollers.”
The 2017 Men’s Under-23 World Championship is the sixth edition of the tournament, which takes place every four years and this year marks the 20-year anniversary of the first competition.
The Australian Under-23 Spinners for the AOZ Qualifying Tournament:
|#||PLAYER NAME||BIRTH DATE||IWBF CLASS|
|Luke Brennan||Head Coach|
|Craig Campbell||Assistant Coach|
|Shane Furness||Team Manager / Assistant Coach|