Jannik Blair advances undefeated in World Basketball Championship

Jannik Blair

Jannik Blair

JANNIK Blair and the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team have advanced through the initial group stage undefeated at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.

After downing Sweden in a tough match on Saturday, the Rollers backed up with big wins over powerful European nations Germany and Italy on Sunday and Monday respectively.

The Germans proved no match for Australia after an even first quarter.

Scores were locked at 16-apiece before the Rollers made their move in the second quarter to open up a four-point half-time advantage.

They extended it to 10 by three-quarter-time and blew the game apart with a 20-6 final quarter, setting up the 62-38 win.

Against Italy the team led by 15 at half-time and coasted to a 65-45 win.

Blair scored his first point of the tournament in the win, making one of two free throws.

Despite playing heavy minutes each game, Blair has only attempted three field goals and two free throws.

Australia has now been put in a new group.

The Rollers played Colombia on Tuesday night, winning 62-46.

The team will play Turkey later on Wednesday and the USA on Thursday.

The top four teams from the two new groups will reach the quarter-finals.

Blair said he had sacrificed his individual game for the good of the team.

“I’ve been doing a lot more work off the ball to get our big guys into a position to score, so my shooting game has taken a back seat,” he said.

Blair said the team was still on track to defend its gold medal, but had three more tough opponents to come.

“It was great to get through the first three games with three wins against quality opposition – it puts us in great stead for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

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