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31 July 2014

Australia hungry for first World title

By Beau Greenway|Courtesy of IPC


Australia will be out to win the only major trophy that has eluded them in the sport when they compete for the 2014 IWRF World Championship in Odense, Denmark from 4-10 August.


The world’s No.2 ranked side were runners up to the USA at the 2010 event, and are desperate to go one better this year and achieve the team goal of becoming world No.1 once again.


The 2014 World Championship event will be the fifth for Australia’s Naz Erdem. The experienced low point player has been a leader around the team for many years, and has now been recognised for his hard work by being awarded the role of vice captain in Odense.


Australia enters Worlds in excellent form with strong results in two lead up events


“Our preparation has been going well, we have had a few competitions in the last month or so including the Canada Cup where we finished first which was great for us," Erdem said.


“We also just recently took two Australian teams over to the New Zealand nationals, and both teams made it to the final and played each other.”


“We haven’t ever won one (a World Championship), so we have been working harder to get everything right and put ourselves in the best possible position.”


This year’s Canada Cup featured a world class field, which included Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand, all of which will be competing for the same prize against Australia in Odense.


“The Canada Cup is a warm up event for the World Championship and Paralympic Games, and every team that played deserved to be there, and we are going to see them all again in a couple of weeks time,” Erdem said.


“It was great preparation for us to face off with those teams; we played really well and won quite comfortably in the end against Canada.”


Beating such a world class field has no doubt given the Australia’s that extra boost they needed before the World Championship commences.


“Our confidence is quite high and the whole atmosphere around the team is really fantastic,” Erdem said.


“We have a great bunch of guys working really well together, and some new lineups that we have been practicing that we haven’t used in major competitions before, which will be a first for us.”


Erdem also added that while the preparation for 2014 compared to 2010 is significantly different, they are peaking at the right time.


“The team has changed quite a lot, and because of that we have been developing lineups which has been quite a change compared to 2010.


“Everyone is working out each other’s roles and what lineups are strong against certain teams.”


“Training has been paying off, we have tested ourselves and we are getting better and better the more we play as a team.”


The USA will deservedly start favourites for the event, but things may be a little different this time around.


“A few years ago they (USA) were the team to beat all the time, and they still are at the moment,” Erdem said.


“We have got a new team and have played them a fair bit recently and had some great games against them. There is no fear or doubt as there used to be when we played them in the past. “


The Australians are grouped in the higher ranked pool in the tournament that includes Canada, Great Britain, host nation Denmark, Finland and Belgium, but have the expectation to win every match and qualify for the semi finals.


Australia will begin their title campaign on 5 August against Great Britain