One to Watch - Chuck Aoki
DOB (age)-07/03/91 (24 years old)
Place of Birth-Minneapolis, USA
Disability- HSAN Type II
2015- Parapan American Games- 2nd
2014- World Championships- 3rd
2013- Americas Championship- 1st
2013- USQRA Division One MVP
2012- Paralympic Games- 3rd
2012- USQRA Division One- 1st(Division One MVP)
2011- Americas Championship- 1st (MVP)
2011- USQRA Division One- 1st (USQRA Player of the year)
2010- World Championships- 1st
2009- Americas Championship- 1st
2009- USQRA Division Two- 1st (Division Two MVP)
With the BT WWRC less than two weeks away, it is the time to look at some of the key players throughout the spectacle. With seven of the top ten best countries in the world competing alongside 17th placed South Africa, the tournament is sure to showcase some of the games’ best players at the Queen Elizabeth Copper Box Arena.
Earlier in the week we featured Great Britain’s Ayaz Bhuta, and now it is the turn of USA high pointer Chuck Aoki.
Having won bronze with his country at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, the 24-year-old will be hoping another trip across the Atlantic can be as, if not more, successful than three years ago.
Nathaniel Holland caught up with the Paralympic Bronze medallist to see how he was preparing ahead of the tournament.
What are you looking
forward to the most going into the tournament?
“I'm excited to get another chance to compete this year. Typically we're only able to have one major competition a year, so it's exciting to be able to attend the BT WWRC, and compete against the world's best.”
are returning to London, a place where you won bronze with USA in 2012, what
are your memories of that summer and are you excited to come back to the UK to
“Playing in London was incredible. The fans in Great Britain support Paralympic sport tremendously, wheelchair rugby being no exception. Our match against Great Britain in London 2012 was spectacular, with the crowd so loud it was deafening. I look forward to a similar atmosphere this time as well!”
are your thoughts on the standard of opposition that will be competing at the
BT WWRC and is there any games you are looking forward to?
“The quality of sides at the BT WWRC is excellent. Every team present is a quality opponent, and I can't wait to play.”
are you most looking forward to playing against?
“I've played against nearly everyone before, except for South Africa. I'm probably most looking forward to seeing the development of a newer side, and I'm excited to see the progress they have made.”
advice have you got for the fans and what can they expect from the BT WWRC?
“For fans, be ready for a sport unlike anything you've ever seen before. It's loud, fast, exciting, and dangerous. You'll be hooked instantly, and want to come back for more. From USA, you'll see a fast paced and hard working team, that plays the game with passion.”
finally, how do you think USA will fare in the tournament?
“Our goal is to win the tournament, of course. We know that there are seven other teams who want to accomplish that same goal, however, and we'll have to get through them all to do achieve our goal.”
Pic:Lakeshore Foundation/Bernard Troncale
Quick Fire Round
Favourite Food- Sushi
Favourite Drink- Cherry Coke
Sporting Idol- Kevin Garnett
Favourite Sport away from Wheelchair Rugby- Soccer or American Football
Last Album you downloaded-Trap Queen by FettyWap
Last film you saw at the cinema- The Intern
What subject did you most enjoy at school-Social Studies
Favourite Holiday Destination-I don’t have time to go on holiday
Random fact- I love to read and do crossword puzzles
Hopes for future - To see the sport achieve worldwide prominence and mainstream recognition, particularly in the USA. With ITV4 covering the WWRC I would love to see similar coverage in the U.S.
Follow Chuck on Twitter @aoki5chuck