With just over two years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games take place, Japan have claimed their first major title following a 62-61 defeat of hosts Australia in the Wheelchair Rugby World Championship final in Sydney on Friday.
Australia, the defending world and Paralympic champions, were bidding to become the first host nation to win the title but were unable to repeat their 65-52 victory over Japan in their Pool A decider on Wednesday.
The final had the raucous crowd at the Quaycentre on the edge of their seats as the lead changed hands repeatedly in a match that saw nearly 30 turnovers.
Japan had beaten Pool B winners USA to reach their first major final, but the Americans bounced back from that disappointment to claim the bronze medal with a 47-36 defeat of Great Britain.
In the other play-off matches, France edged Canada 52-51 to finish fifth with Denmark coming out on top in their all-Scandinavian battle with Sweden for seventh place with a tight 51-48 victory.
Poland beat Colombia 44-39 to claim ninth place with New Zealand overcoming World Championship debutants Ireland 51-40 to finish 11th.
For more information on wheelchair rugby, visit www.iwrf.com.
Photo credit: IWRF
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