#Brisbane2019: Hopes high for Australia in basketball
Only a few days remain until the start of the 2019 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games in Brisbane, Australia, on 12 October.
The excitement is building in none more so than basketball as the hosts are expected to challenge for medals in both the men’s and women’s events.
Hopes for the Australia Pearls are high in the women’s as the reigning world champions and defending World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games title-holders.
The team are fielding two sides – Australia Gold and Australia Green – to play in the 3v3 format.
At the last World Championships in 2017, Australia Gold left with the trophy following an all-national final against their teammates.
The Pearls also occupied an impressive eight of the 10 top scorer spots In the tournament.
Eliza Mills headlined her team’s efforts with 27 goals. Kaitlyn Papworth was third on 21. Both players return to the court and will co-captain the Australia Gold team.
Taylor Anderson and Kate Leckenby will share the responsibility for the Australia Greens.
At the last World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games in Ecuador in 2015, Japan also fielded two women’s teams.
Japan White left with silver and the country have been doing a huge amount of development work to grow their squad further in the intervening years.
A tantalising competition is therefore expected as new players look to make their mark.
On the men’s side France, Portugal and Australia are likely to be the main protagonists as the medallists from 2017.
Australia just missed out on a place in the final following a crushing 49-79 defeat against eventual winners France. That was despite their star player Jake De La Motte finishing head and shoulders above his opponents with 111 goals across the tournament.
France overcame Portugal 66-31 in the final to grab the world title. Australia left with a consolation bronze.
The World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games are the world’s biggest high performance sports event for athletes with intellectual impairments.
Nearly 1,000 competitors will go for gold in 10 sports in Brisbane from 12-19 October.
Results will be available at the official competition website.