O’Neill-Thorne helps Australia to World Challenge Cup win


NTIS Wheelchair Basketball scholarship athlete Tom O’Neill-Thorne has made a strong contribution to the Australian Rollers winning the 2017 Mitsubishi Electric World Challenge Cup in Tokyo.

The Aussie Rollers’ redemption from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games has continued, where they have won the tournament undefeated. Following a victory against host nation Japan on Day One, the Rollers faced a double-header against Great Britain and Turkey the next day, the two sides which battled for the bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics.

The Rollers claimed victory over Great Britain winning 56-50. Tom O’Neill-Thorne (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) had an outstanding game. Just a few hours later, the Rollers were back on court against Turkey and went on to claim a 62-49 victory.

Setting up a rematch with Great Britain for the gold medal on the final day of competition, the Rollers contended with everything the British threw at them. In the second half and they were rewarded for a strong performance at both ends of the floor, claiming the gold medal with a 76-54 win.

Shaun Norris was unstoppable, collecting 26 points, five boards and 10 assists while Tom O’Neill-Thorne contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds. Seven players hit the scoreboard including Brett Stibners (9 points), Kim Robins (6 points) and Jannik Blair (6 points).

The Rollers will now prepare for the 2017 IWBF Asia Oceania qualifiers, held in Beijing from October 21-29.

14 Men’s teams will compete for four spots, and four Women’s teams for two spots at the 2019 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.

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