Wheelchair rugby pools set for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Eight-team draw sees Rio 2016 champions Australia headline Pool A 29 Apr 2021
Two men playing wheelchair rugby collide their chairs.
Rivals Australia and Japan are ready to clash for Paralympic glory in Tokyo
ⒸKevin Bogetti-Smith

Tensions have already risen well ahead of the wheelchair rugby competition at Tokyo 2020, with back-to-back Paralympic champions Australia and reigning world champions Japan drawn in the same pool.

The eight-team draw concluded on Thursday (29 April) and pitted the two medal contenders together in Pool A, with the USA highlighting Pool B. 

Top-seeds Australia are going for a hat-trick of Paralympic gold in Tokyo. But No. 3 seed Japan – who stunned the Steelers for a historic World Championship victory in 2018 – hope to celebrate a first ever Paralympic title on home court. It would be a fitting follow-up from their Rio 2016 bronze, which was also their maiden medal at a Games. 

Denmark join Pool A after their runner-up finish at the 2019 European Championships, along with France, who punched their ticket at the 2020 Paralympic Qualifier. 

The USA hope to return to the top of the Paralympic podium for the first time since Beijing 2008 as they lead Pool B. But European champions Great Britain will be seeking revenge after the US ousted them for bronze at the 2018 Worlds.

Canada found their way to Tokyo by winning the 2020 Qualifiers and are aiming to build back after a disappointing sixth-place showing at Sydney 2018. New Zealand will make their first Paralympic appearance since 2008 as they round off Pool B.

Wheelchair rugby competition runs from 25-29 August at the Yogi National Stadium.