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USA defeats Australia to win 2019 Wheelchair Rugby Challenge

USA's Josh Wheeler knocks over Australia's Ryley Batt during the final match
Photo: ⒸJapan Wheelchair Rugby Federation

The USA has struck a major blow ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games by capturing gold at the 2019 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in Tokyo, last month.

The wheelchair rugby powerhouse defeated Paralympic champions Australia, 59-51, in a replay of the gold medal match from the 2016 Paralympics.

“It felt great winning the tournament after a gruelling schedule of playing the fifth-ranked team (Canada), fourth-ranked team (Great Britain) and the top-ranked team (Australia) twice,” said US co-captain Joe Delagrave.

“I thought we played well in some of our new lines, allowing Chuck (Aoki) and Josh (Wheeler) some quality rest during intense games.

“We also managed the clock well and took care of the ball. Our team prides itself on trusting each other through the ups and downs of the tournament.”

Australia was victorious against the USA in the pair’s last major gold medal meeting at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, but Delagrave said that was not a factor.

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