Japan's campaign to win a first ever Paralympic wheelchair rugby medal next year in Rio de Janeiro has received a boost after the nation defeated Great Britain to win the Japan Para Championships in Chiba.
After finishing eighth on their debut in the sport at Athens 2004, Japan improved to seventh four years later in Beijing before an agonising fourth place finish at London 2012, where they were defeated 53-43 by the United States in the bronze medal match.
A home tournament, in which three of the world's top 10 sides were present, was seen as good preparation ahead of October's Asia-Oceania Championships, which will also take place in Chiba and will see world number one ranked side Australia among the opposition.
After beating New Zealand 56-43 and Denmark 55-36 on the opening day, the Asian side edged Britain 56-49 before powering past New Zealand for a second time, 51-41.
This set up a rematch with Britain, in which the Japanese were event more dominant in powering to a clinical 57-43 victory.
The most thrilling match came in the battle for bronze, however, as Denmark overcame New Zealand by the narrowest of single point margins, 48-47.
This ensured the four teams finished in their world ranking order, with Japan fourth in the world, Britain fifth, Denmark sixth and New Zealand eighth in the latest list published in April.
Only four countries have ever won a Paralympic medal in the sport since wheelchair rugby made its official debut at Sydney 2000 having appeaed as a demonstration event in Atlanta four years earlier.
america won in both Sydney and Beijing before Australia won at London 2012, while Canada have also taken two silver and one bronze.
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