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25 September 2011

United States captures Gold at IWRF Americas Championship

Paralympic champions USA underlined it is the Wheelchair Rugby team to beat at London 2012 with a victory at last week’s IWRF Americas Zone Championship in Bogota, Colombia.


Unbeaten in every major Championship since the 2006 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships, USA was not really tested in the six-team competition until its final game against Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games bronze medalists Canada.


Going into the final round of the round-robin format, USA and Canada were both undefeated after they had recorded victories against Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and host nation Colombia.


In its first four games, Canada amassed a whopping 270 points, outscoring the opponents USA, which managed 227. USA though had the stronger defence, conceding just 52 points to Canada’s 57.


The final was an extremely close affair, however it was the USA that came out on top, 56-45, showing just why it had won four out of the last five World Championships.


After only taking up the sport four years ago, Brazil finished third after they won their final round-robin game against Mexico 69-31, a superb achievement acknowledged by the players and the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.


“It’s a privilege to represent our nation. I’m very happy to be part of this,” said Rafael Hoffman, one of the 10 athletes who represented Brazil in the competition. “We are now a team with international achievements. These athletes took the sport to another level and we are proud to be the number one in Latin America”, said Luiz Claudio, Vice President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.


Brazil’s achievement in finishing third also won praise from the President of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation, John Bishop. “Brazil had an extraordinary development. I am very pleased by their achievement and hope the sport will continue to grow in their country.