Reigning Paralympic men’s wheelchair basketball gold medallists, the Australian Rollers, have officially launched their upcoming international tournament – the Rollers World Challenge – at Sydney Olympic Park today.
The international tournament will be staged at the Sydney Olympic Park Sport Centre from Wednesday July 29 to Saturday August 1 inclusive, and will feature the three medal winning teams from the 2008 Beijing Paralympics Games (Australia – gold, Canada – silver, Great Britain – bronze) as well as Asian powerhouse Japan.
Five-time Paralympian Troy Sachs and teammate Tristan Knowles were joined at the launch by Basketball Australia General Manager of National Teams Lorraine Landon, with ABC-TV’s Darren Boyd hosting.
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock said the tournament provided yet another example of Basketball’s important place in the community reinforcing why Basketball is truly everyone’s game.
“Basketball Australia is committed to bringing the best basketball teams in the world to our country so that we can showcase the athleticism and appeal of our sport, as well as highlight the pathways from our growing participant base of 600,000 people through to our world class elite teams,” said Sengstock. “The Rollers World Challenge will be a top-class international sporting event and we’re proud to bring it to Australia.”
Landon said the incredible strength and athleticism of the Rollers and their opponents would ensure the tournament was a fantastic spectacle for the public.
“In any sport, a country being able to bring together all three medal teams from the most recent international championship as well as another top-ten side for a world class tournament is a major achievement,” said Landon. “Australia will be up against the very best on the planet at the Rollers World Challenge, which should provide some fascinating and thrilling competition. These four teams will show Australians just what fantastic athletes they are.”
Australian Paralympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Miles Murphy said Australian fans should show their pride in one of the country’s great teams by attending the tournament.
"The Australian Rollers have a proud Paralympic record and continue to be one of the real dominant forces in world wheelchair basketball," said Murphy.
"The Australian Paralympic Committee is proud to support the Rollers as part of our partnership with Basketball Australia, and we encourage Australian fans to get behind them during the tournament as we look towards the London Paralympic Games in 2012."
Wheelchair Sports NSW Chief Executive officer Jim O’Brien said the event would showcase not only the best players in the world, but also some home-grown New South Wales talent.
“Wheelchair Sports NSW is delighted to assist in promoting wheelchair sport and Paralympic sport at its best as part of the Rollers World Challenge,” said O’Brien. “The wheelchair sports community is thrilled that it will get to witness the best wheelchair basketball since the 2000 Paralympics. Also, the Rollers World Challenge will showcase a number of our outstanding local players that have been nurtured and developed by our own organisation, including Troy Sachs, John McPhail, Bill Latham and Tristan Knowles.”
Tickets to see Australia take on the world are available now through Ticketek. A day ticket to the Rollers World Challenge (to see two matches on the one day) will cost only $10 per adult, $5 per child or $25 per family (two adults and two children). A tournament pass will cost $25 per adult or $10 per child. Tickets to the Rollers World Challenge can be purchased via www.ticketek.com.au.
The tournament will also be shown on both ABC1 and ABC2.