The 2019 Women’s U25 World Championship began with the Opening Ceremony, which took place in front of a packed house, welcoming a number of high profile dignatories including the Governor of Suphanburi Province, Mr Nimit Wanchaitanawong, and the President of Suphanburi Sports Association, Mr Varawut Silpa-archa.
IWBF Secretary General, Norbert Kucera, welcomed all the teams, officials, friends, and families to the tournament before it was officially declared open by Mr Nimit Wanchaitanawong and Mr Varawut Silpa-archa.
Hosts Thailand got the games underway against South Africa. It was a close first half with the inexperienced Thai team buoyed on by a home crowd and matching South Africa, to trail by just two points at the break in a low scoring game, 9-11. However, South Africa came out the stronger of the two teams in the third period and won the second half 7-24, giving them their first victory in the history of the championship, 16-35.
South Africa’s Head Coach Nthombizile Nthombeni said,, “I feel good about the way our girls played today. There were some minor mistakes and we need to correct these in our next training sessions. The girls are motivated and in high spirits after the win. They have learnt a lot from this game and they are looking forward to the next game against Japan.”
The second game of the day saw defending champions Great Britain take on a relatively unknown quantity in Japan. Again the first quarter was tight between the two teams, as they both looked to embed themselves into the competition. GB settled the quickest though and soon took control of the game, making it possible to rotate through the full squad and give valuable playing time to all players. Japan didn’t let the game run away from them, but GB got the win, 47-30.
Captain of Great Britain, Joy Haizelden, said after the game, “It’s a really good feeling to get a win at the World Championship. We played really hard. We didn’t know what Japan would come out with so it was a little bit of the unknown, but I’m so proud of all the girls that we came out fighting and it’s ended with a great feeling. We have Thailand and South Africa in our next two games, so we will just go into these two games concentrating on our game and have fun at the same time.”
Australia Devils opened their 2019 Women’s U25 Women’s World Champaionships campaign with a convincing win against Germany in the first game of Pool B, 55-37. The Devils were led from the front by their captain Annabelle Lindsay, who hit a double double of 27 points and 12 rebounds to assist them to victory.
Australia’s Head Coach, Stephen Charlton, said, “It was a really pleasing win. As I said to the girls after, you can never really know what the first game of the tournament is going to be like and we had to go with some different line-ups that we hadn’t used before; one of those was with the 3 x 1pointers and Jess Cronje off the bench which late in the second quarter really stabilised us. The way the girls fought and stuck to our systems, I’m really really proud of them. They are a young team and they really enjoyed it and have embraced the moment.”
The final game of the opening day was between Turkey and the USA. Turkey, who were making their first ever appearance at a women’s world event at both senior or junior level, put up a spirited fight in the opening minutes of the first quarter, but their outside shots failed to drop and USA went on a 22-0 run to push out to a large advantage. The much more experienced USA team proved too strong as they went on to win all four quarters, 22-2, 18-4, 16-3, 14-7, to take home their first win of the championship, 70-16.