The Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championships will take place from 4-10 November in Goyang, Korea, and will serve as a qualification tournament for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
In the men’s competition, Korea, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Iraq will fight for two London 2012 qualification spots.
Tristan Knowles, Dylan Alcott and Justin Eveson will lead an Australian team that will be heavily favoured as the reigning world and Paralympic champions. The squad has gone through some extensive trials in the past 18 months and has been cut from 30 to 16 players prior to the Championships.
“Every time we get together, it’s a gauge of where we’re at,” Australian men’s coach Ben Ettridge told the Australian Paralympic Committee.
“Sometimes it’s not even on the court where we’re focused – sometimes it’s off the court stuff. Given we’ve had a selection camp with 16 guys together three or four weeks before we go, we’re hoping that we’re pretty much on song by the second or third day.”
Japan and China both competed in the Bejing 2008 Paralympics, finishing seventh and 12th, respectively.
Korea, Australia, Japan and China make up the women’s field, where two qualification spots will also be available.
Australia finished fourth at last year’s world championships after finishing third at Beijing 2008. Japan took fourth at Beijing 2008 and China took seventh, so both should provide top competition for the Aussies in Korea.