5 Canada Cup Debutants to Watch This Week!
Nathan Bragg | May 31, 2022
It’s been a long four years since the last Canada Cup and in that time many exciting new players have emerged on the international stage. From international rookies to established here are five athletes making their Canada Cup debuts to watch out for.
Stuart Robinson (Great Britain #3)
The powerful 3.5 played a huge role in Great Britain’s gold medal campaign at the Tokyo Paralympics and now he’s in position to take on an even greater role with the team as they build towards the World Championship this fall.
Robinson has great pace and has improved immensely since making his Team GB debut a few years ago. He’ll be one of Great Britain’s main offensive options as they look to add another new title to their trophy case in Richmond.
Cédric Nankin (France #3)
Similar to Stuart Robinson, Cédric Nankin is no newcomer to international competition. He’s been a core piece for an improving French side for the better part of the decade. However, the dominant 1.5 is competing in his first Canada Cup this year.
One of the world’s best defensive players, Nankin was named best 1.5 at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships and has shown a consistent ability to guard higher classification players and use his strong pick to frustrate even the quickest of opposing high-pointers.
Jack Smith (Great Britain #5)
One of GB’s newer low-point players, Smith made his Paralympic debut in Tokyo and started this quadrennial in a big way with a great performance at the European Championships for GB.
A strong inbounder for his class, Smith could have a big role on his hands this week clearing pathways, providing support and being a safe out for Britain’s ball-handlers. As a 0.5, he won’t be near the top of the scoresheet but will play an invaluable role doing the dirty work for his teammates.
Shae Graham (Australia #12)
The first woman classified above a 1.5 to compete in a Paralympics. Shae Graham is definitely an athlete to look out for.
She’s a talented mid-point player who often plays the number 3 role in Australia’s balanced line-ups. She spaces the court well on offense and plays smart and tenacious defense on the other end of the floor.
Fuya Shirakawa (Japan #44)
The Japanese mid-pointer is the only “true rookie” on this list. At 23 years-old Shirakawa is one of the younger athletes at the Canada Cup and looks to have a bright future.
A club teammate of the Japanese captain Yukinobu Ike on FREEDOM. The youngster has great speed and could have an intriguing international debut this week!