Jannik Blair heads to World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in South Korea

Jannik Blair, centre, after winning silver at the London Paralympic Games in London. He described the feeling of coming second as gutting. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Jannik Blair, centre, after winning silver at the London Paralympic Games in London. He described the feeling of coming second as gutting. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

HORSHAM wheelchair basketball star Jannik Blair says Australia is ready for anything at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Incheon, South Korea, starting Saturday.

Blair, 22, will play a key role for the Australian Rollers as they prepare to defend their gold medal from the 2010 world championships.

He was the youngest member of the 2010 team, but will be a much bigger part of the team’s plans this year.

While he is still one of the team’s younger members, Blair already has an impressive international resume.

He was part of the Rollers’ silver medal campaign in the 2012 London Paralympics, and captained the national squad to bronze in last year’s under-23 world championships in Turkey.

Speaking to the Mail-Times on Wednesday, Blair said the team was resting in preparation for a practice match against Spain on Thursday.

Australia is drawn in a tough group, with pool matches looming against Sweden on Saturday, Germany on Sunday and Italy on Monday. 

Blair said he and his team-mates were relishing the challenge.

“The boys are excited to get some solid competition right from the get-go,” he said.

“We go into this with one goal in mind – to be world champions.

“That means beating any team on any day, whether it be the opening game of the tournament or the gold medal game.

“We’re confident that if we stick to our processes and play Rollers basketball, the result will take care of itself.”

Blair was the subject of a profile story posted on the Basketball Australia website during the week.

In it, he spoke of the pain of missing out on a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics, and how he used it to drive himself.

“I can say for myself, and I’m confident I can speak for the team, that we are incredibly hungry,” he said.

“Getting silver is a gutting feeling after having such a good run in London and I don’t want to experience that feeling again.”

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