Jannik Blair one step closer to London Paralympic Games

HORSHAM basketballer Jannik Blair is a step closer to fulfilling his Paralympic Games dream.

Blair, 19, has been selected in the Australian Rollers men's wheelchair basketball team for the Asia Oceania Zone Championships in South Korea next month.

The Rollers will aim to secure one of two 2012 London Paralympic Games positions on offer at the official qualifying tournament.

Blair, speaking to the Mail-Times from a Rollers training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, said he was excited to make the team.

"The team has been doing some fine-tuning at a camp this week and we're excited about heading off," he said.

"We're feeling confident, we're going in as favourites so hopefully we can live up to our reputation."

The championships are in Goyang, South Korea from November 4-11.

The Rollers will play against national teams from Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Iraq, Kuwait and New Zealand.

Blair said representing Australia in the Paralympic Games was a 'life-long dream'.

"It is something I've been chasing solidly for the past five years," he said. "The championships team is at full strength, so it is a good sign to be selected.

"It gives a good indication of where I am at the moment but I'm not getting too ahead of myself. I know there is still a lot of hard work to be done."

Blair was studying at University of Missouri in the United States of America on a basketball scholarship but has deferred to focus on his national basketball commitments.

Now based in Melbourne, Blair has had a busy schedule since returning to Australia in May.

He has competed in a tri-nation series against teams from South Africa and the Netherlands and also represented Australia at the International Tournament of Champions in North Carolina, in the United States of America in August.