The excitement of Wheelchair Rugby has hit the ParaPans as the tournament got under way on the weekend. Unsurprisingly Canada and the United States are in the box seat, but Brazil, with a tough draw to open the tournament sit without a win.
The opening game started as expected with Canada easily shooting out to a 6-2 lead in the early going as Brazil struggled to keep possession. That allowed the hotly favoured Canadians to really dominate proceedings and they quickly built up a 14-5 lead with two minutes to play in the first period.
That lead continued to grow throughout the second period, despite Brazil having some solid moments, they just could not really break down the strong Canadian defence. The lead ballooned out to 20 with 90 seconds to play in the half which ended with the score 37-17 for Canada.
Canada cruised on from there, bringing up their 50 early in the fourth period and they just piled on the sore steadily increasing the margin. The margin kept building as Canada finally won the match 65-32.
After watching their fellow contenders do so well in the opening game, the United States were forced to respond against Argentina in the second encounter. The US team pushed out and scored the first the first three goals of the game.
It was a stunning performance through the rest of the game as they just simply powered past the Argentina side. Four Americans scored in double figures, with the team winning the game 70-25, despite starting a mixed squad, sending a message to Canada and putting pressure on Argentina early.
The final match showed how hard things will be for Chile, as they were hammered by Colombia in a 66-12 defeat. It was Chile’s first appearance in a full IWRF sanctioned event and they were clearly off the pace but as the game went on the side improved which shows there may be some hope yet for Chile as they use this tournament to get some great exposure.
The second day saw Canada respond to USA’s challenge, as they came out from the early going and really took it to Colombia. It was a phenomenally consistent performance with 19 goals in the first two periods as they went to the half 38-10 up.
Colombia came out from half-time and put in an improved effort but they still saw the lead expand, but were able to put 13 on the Canadians in the third. But the Canadians responded, dominating the final period to finish with the highest score of the tournament so far, a 76-32 win.
The second match was even more one sided, as Argentina completely tore Chile apart, the defense from Argentina was impressive. Chile were only able to score three goals in the first half as they went to the break 29-3 down.
Just like the Colombians earlier, Chile improved, but not by enough as they were comprehensively beaten by the much stronger Argentina side. Argentina needed to send a strong message to Brazil as they won the game 53-14.
After seeing Canada put 65 on Brazil in the opening game of the tournament the USA had to send a message in their game against Brazil on Sunday. The first period was a bit tighter than the Americans would have liked as it ended 16-10.
The USA defense responded and got a stronger defense in the second period as they went to half time 32-14 up. It was a phenomenally consistent offensive performance from the Americans as they were 62-27 up.
After two days of competition, it’s clear that the final will be between Canada and the United States but the fight for Bronze could be tight. The United States lead with Canada in second, just three goals behind, Colombia are third followed by Argentina while Brazil and Chile are the two winless sides.