The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Blair going for gold in Tokyo


Horsham’s Jannik Blair will launch his Tokyo Paralympic­s gold medal campaign against Iran tomorrow.

The dual-paralympia­n and his Australian Rollers wheelchair basketball team will compete in highly competitiv­e Group B, which also features Great Britain and USA.

The pair, along with the Rollers and Iran, finished in the top four in the 2018 world championsh­ips, where Australia claimed Bronze.

Australia and Iran will face off at 3.45pm AEST.

The Rollers will then take on Algeria on Friday at 10am, Germany on Saturday at noon, the United States on Sunday at 3.45pm and Great Britain on Monday at 5.45pm, all AEST.

Men’s quarter finals will be on September 1, a classifica­tion playoff on September 2 and semi-finals on September 3.

Gold and bronze medal games will be contested on the final day of the games, ahead of the closing ceremony on September 5.

The Rollers are among a swathe of Australian medal chances at the games, where the nation’s top Paralympia­ns will aim to maintain or better Australia’s top five placing at each of the past six Paralympic Games.

Blair, who won silver at the London 2012 games, told The Weekly Advertiser last month that the Australian team’s shock sixth-placed finish at the 2016 Rio games left him ‘gutted’.

He said there was significan­t pressure within the national squad to perform well in Tokyo.

“We got so close in 2012. If we play that game back 10 times, we win most of them,” he said.

“Looking back, a silver medal is a great achievemen­t. But not getting gold motivates the group to hopefully right the wrongs.”

Blair’s team-mate Tristan Knowles, competing in his fifth Paralympic Games, said ‘the joy and a privilege of pulling on a green and gold singlet gets greater and greater’.

“We’re the fastest and fittest our group of 12 has ever been,” he said.

“It says to me that the guys are hungry because you only get into that sort of condition by doing a whole lot of work when no one’s watching. We’re pumped.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia