The United States are the country to beat in wheelchair basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with both men and women taking home golds at Rio 2016 and trying to defend their titles in Japan.
The Americans have notched up a total of 12 Paralympic victories so far, which is double the number of their nearest rivals, Canada, on six.
One of the USA’s main players is Jake Williams, who already helped the team win gold at the 2015 Parapan American Games and at Rio 2016. The country lost to Great Britain at the 2018 World Championships, the sport’s most recent major event.
However, they face rivals such as the Canadian team, led by 42-year-old Patrick Anderson, is another important contender.
On the other hand, the American women’s team fell to sixth at the same 2018 World Championships and have only three returning players from the team that won the Paralympic gold five years ago.
‘Obviously there’s a transition and what you lose is this veteran component and the maturity of veteran athletes and the mentoring that brings’, affirmed USA's women’s coach Lawrence Johnson.
The Netherlands claimed the 2018 women’s world title and start as one of the favourites in Tokyo along with world championships runners-up Great Britain and bronze medallists Germany.
Competition will be held from August 25th to September 5th at two venues in Tokyo: Musashino Forest Sports Plaza for the group matches and Ariake Arena for the finals.
There will be 12 men's teams and 10 women's teams competing to get on the podium, with the first final, the women's gold medal match, on September 4th, followed by the men's final on September 5th . Athletes in each team are classified according to the type and extent of their impairment.