Rio 2016 Preview: Wheelchair Rugby

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Events: One (Mixed)

Classification: Athletes are rated on a scale of 0.5 to 3.5 the lower the score, the lower the function. The total score of players on the court can be at most 8.0

Venue:  Rio Olympic Arena

Athlete Quota: 96 (eight teams)

International Federation: International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF)

Defending Champion: Australia

Preview

It’s been a lean few years for Australia since they won the World Championships two years ago, completing a double of tournaments they’d never won before. But in recent months the Steelers have started to gain momentum, raising back up to the number two position in the World Rankings.

That number one world ranking position is taken by a familiar nation, the United States who have spent the last four years trying to get back to the top after winning only bronze in London four years ago. Looking like going through four years without a major trophy, the Eagles regrouped and managed to win the third biggest tournament in wheelchair rugby, the Canada Cup in June, pushing them up to the world number one ranking.

The silver medalists from four years ago, Canada have been on a disappointing run, failing to even medal in their own tournament for the first time in 12 years. That said, Canada did manage to beat the United States on their way to Para Pan-American Games gold, and have proved that they have the edge over their North American rivals in major competitions, knocking them out at the semi-finals four years ago.

That may leave the door open for two teams that missed out on medals in London to get on the podium in Rio. Japan are in the middle of best ever form as they claimed the Asia/Oceania Zonal title for the first ever time and sit third in the World Rankings while Great Britain could continue their improvement, sitting fifth in the World Rankings.

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