USA Wheelchair Rugby Qualifies For Paralympics -Wins Gold in Paris

April 21, 2016

USA Wheelchair Rugby Qualifies For Paralympics -Wins Gold in Paris

imagePhoto: USA Wheelchair Rugby

Doug Coil

The USA Wheelchair Rugby team came to Paris for the 2016 IWRF Paralympic Qualifier Tournament April 18-21, 2016 and won Gold going undefeated in winning all seven games. The USA team beat France in the Gold Medal game 54-45. France also qualified by making the Final.

The USA will join hosts Brazil, as well as Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Japan and France at the Paralympics in Rio. The Wheelchair Rugby events are being held September 14-18, 2016.

Currently the USA is ranked by the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation second and will go to Rio as a favorite to claim a podium position. Canada is currently ranked first worldwide and also will vie for Gold. The other teams rankings include Japan third, Australia fourth, Great Britain fifth, Sweden sixth, France eighth, and Brazil nineteenth.

Day One: April 18th

In their initial match, the USA Wheelchair Rugby team faced Germany, ranked nineth worldwide and emerged with a 64-43 win. The USA used their tenacious defense to lead 32-21 at halftime and continued to apply pressure to the end.

Their second game of the day had the USA facing New Zealand, ranked tenth in the world. At halftime the USA built a 12 point lead and built the lead until winning 54-34.

Day Two: April 19th

Twelfth ranked Finland was next for the USA men and the USA took a 35-14 lead into halftime before cruising to a 60-32 win.

The second game of the day for the USA was against the host France team, ranked eighth in the world. Both teams entered this game undefeated. The USA built an 11 point halftime lead before gaining a 63-41 win.

Day Three: April 20th

The USA took care of business beating seventh ranked Denmark 50-45. This was their closest match of the tournament. In doing so, their earned a semi-final berth and would face Denmark again, while France and New Zealand would be the other semi-finalists. Josh Wheeler and Chuck Aoki continued their scoring prowess, while Chad Cohn was stellar on defense.

Day Four: April 21th

Semi-final one: The USA faced Denmark in a rematch from yesterday. At stake was a berth in the Paralympics as the top two teams would qualify. Entering the tournament, these two teams were the highest ranked teams in the tournament, but only one would exit the game with the thrill of victory and its rewards, while the other be left to reflect on what might have been.

The USA entered the tournament as favorites and earned a very narrow five point victory the previous day against Denmark. The rematch began the same way with the USA having a 2 point edge after the first quarter. The lead increased to seven points at halftime as Denmark had two men during the period in the penalty box. With a USA winning 56-44, they not only would move to the Gold medal game, but qualified for the Paralympics.

Semi-final two: In the second semi-final, New Zealand faced host France. The host team had an enthusiastic crowd supporting France as they initially faced New Zealand Wheel Blacks Haka.

The match was a fierce battle as both teams knew what was at stake. At the end of the first quarter the teams were tied 11 all. France gained a one point halftime lead and emerged with a 51-48 win over New Zealand and qualified alongside the USA for the Paralympics.

Gold Medal game: The USA did not disappoint and went unbeaten in seven matches to beat France 54-45 to win the Championship.

At the end of the first period, France had to be pleased with a narrow one point lead over the USA. With Chad Cohn’s time in the penalty box, the USA needed to defend well that period and were up to the task. Chuck Aoki scored prior to halftime to give the USA a one point edge.

The second half was a different story as the USA pressured a tired France team before emerging with a 9 point win and the Championship.

In other action, Denmark beat New Zealand 51-46 for the Bronze, while Germany beat Finland 52-37 for fifth place.

2016 IWRF Paralympic Qualifier Schedule and Results
Gold Medal – United States (7-0)
Silver Medal – France (5-3)

Bronze Medal – Denmark (5-3)

Fourth Place – New Zealand (3-4)

Fifth Place – Germany (2-5)
Sixth Place – Finland (0-7)


0.5 Adrien Chalmin – France

1.0 Chad Cohn – USA

1.5 Thomas Schuwje – Germany

2.0 Andrej Leonhard – Germany

2.5 Josh Wheeler – USA

3.0 Jonathan Hivernat – France

3.5 Ryadh Sallem – France

MVP Cameron Leslie – New Zealand

Monday , April 18, 2016
09:00France vs. Finland 64-33
11:00United States vs. Germany 64-43
13:00New Zealand vs. Denmark 52-54
15:00Germany vs. Finland 54-43
17:00France vs. Denmark 59-52
19:00United States vs. New Zealand 54-34
Tuesday , April 19, 2016
09:00Germany vs. Denmark 52-59
11:00United States vs. Finland 60-32
13:00Germany vs. New Zealand 46-51
15:00France vs. United States 41-63
17:00Denmark vs. Finland 63-44
19:00France vs. New Zealand 51-56
Wednesday , April 20, 2016
09:00United States vs. Denmark 50-45
11:00France vs. Germany 63-45
13:00New Zealand vs. Finland 57-47
17:00Germany vs. Denmark (5 vs. 4) 47-55
19:00Finland vs. France (6 vs. 3) 45-53
Thursday , April 21, 2016
11:00Semi Final – United States vs. Denmark 56-44
13:00Semi Final – New Zealand vs. France 48-51
15:005th/6th Place Match – Germany vs. Finland 52-37
17:00Bronze Medal Match – New Zealand vs. Denmark 46-51
19:00Gold Medal Match – United States vs. France 54-45
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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant