Sept. 18, 2016 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - A few turnovers here, a few missed chances there, and Canada will be going home without a Paralympic medal in wheelchair rugby for the first time since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. The result is a bitter disappointment for the Canadians, who began this season ranked #1 for the first time in 13 years.
Canada had a tough road to the bronze medal game. They fought through two overtime battles during pool play: winning one and losing the other. In the semi-final game against their rivals, the USA, Canada went down early in the game and was never able to recover.
Today’s bronze medal match started in much the same fashion. A blistering Japanese press led by Daisuke Ikezaki and Yukinobu Ike double or triple-teamed Zak Madell. Canada’s other options struggled to handle the ball without him. By the end of the first quarter, Canada was down by four.
We had a slow start and got behind quick and had to fight back every step of the way,” said head coach Kevin Orr. “Every time we thought we gained some ground, we turned the ball over, unfortunately.”
Though Canada won the third quarter by two, they could never sustain any momentum. Japan won the game 52-50.
“I don’t know if we were tired, but came out a little flat and the Japanese team was all fired up,” said Madell. “Even in the warm-up court, we could hear that they wanted it. And I guess they wanted it more than us, because they played a great 32-minute game and here we are going home empty-handed.”
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