Japan’s wheelchair rugby team won bronze on Sunday with a 60-52 defeat of two-time defending Paralympic gold medalists Australia, the home team’s multi-pronged attack and defensive focus proving key factors in the victory.
After an emotional defeat to Britain in Saturday’s semifinal, Japan hit the Yoyogi National Stadium court with clear intent to make amends.
Japan’s wheelchair rugby team members celebrate after winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympics on Aug. 29, 2021, at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo. (Kyodo)
By focusing its defense on Australia’s main man Ryley Batt, Japan built an early lead and never trailed en route to a comfortable victory.
Daisuke Ikezaki again did most of the damage, scoring 23 tries, and captain Yukinobu Ike contributed 16, but they were just two of Japan’s seven try-scorers. Despite the attention he attracted, Batt still…