IWRF World Championships Day One Preview
By Beau Greenway
The wait is finally over as the 2014 IWRF World Championships begin today at Arena Fyn in Odense, Denmark.
After months of anticipation, Arena Fyn looks more than ready to host a world class event as the 12 best teams in wheelchair rugby fight for the ultimate success.
The event will officially start at 3pm local time with the Opening Ceremony at the arena. The ceremony will include a parkour display, a stomp performance as well as a test game featuring some Danish celebrities and local wheelchair rugby players which is not to be missed.
The opening game of the tournament will then get underway as Denmark takes on Belgium at 4:30pm.
France and New Zealand also open their world championships campaigns later in the evening when they clash at 6:30pm.
The home side will start favourites against a Belgian outfit that has struggled for form in recent major tournaments.
Expectations will be high for the hosts who have been in very good form in lead up events including a strong 5th place performance at the Canada Cup in June.
Thor Johansson and the Danish team appeared calm at training yesterday but will carry the hopes of the home crowd this afternoon.
Here's a look at how they will lineup:
Denmark: Thor Johansson (Coach/Captain), Jesper Kruger, Jon Johanneson, Kristian Bak Eriksen, Kurt Busk, Leon Jorgensen, Mike Borgstrom, Thomas Pagh, Sebastian Frederiksen.
Belgium: Bruno Vroman, Frederik Windey, Ive Theuwissen, Ludwig Budeners, Pascal Cosyns, Raf Hendrix, Ronald Verhaegen, Bob Vanacker (Coach).
Following the tournament opener, France will play its first IWRF World Championship match. The debutants secured their place by performing well at the European Championships last year and will be eager to show that on the world stage.
New Zealand has also undergone a massive transformation to get themselves back amongst the world’s top ranked teams.
The 2004 Paralympic champions failed to qualify for the 2012 London Games but have worked incredibly hard over the last year to book their place at the event.
Here is the lineup for both teams:
New Zealand: Maia Amai, Dan Buckingham, Rob Hewitt, Tanafi Lefono, Cameron Leslie, Gavin Rolton, Steve Smith, Phil Spring, Sholto Taylor, Adam Wakeford, Barney Koneferenisi.
France: Pablo Neuman. Adrien Chalmin, Cyrille Chauvel, Christophe Corompt, Rodolphe Jarlan, Sebastian Lhuissier, Charles Martinez, Cedric Nankin, Nicolas Rioux, Ryadh Sallam, Jonathon Hivernat, Eric Meurisse.
Both matches will be live streamed on the 2014 IWRF World Championship website and at www.iwrf.com.