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When a shoulder injury left Shawn Russell sidelined for three months, getting to the World Championships in Dubai felt more than a world away.



“I thought I was pretty much done for at least this round of championships. I was targeting to go to Paris (2024 Paralympics) as my next big thing,” says Russell.

Shawn Russell Goes to Dubai

“I’m honestly so shocked and surprised and so grateful that I got the opportunity. I probably don’t have too many playing years left in me and I really wanted to make a world championships before my time was out so this is absolutely amazing.”


Russell, who will turn 36 during the championships, had set his sights on making his first major international tournament since the 2016 Rio Paralympics.


“After Rio I had somewhat of a break, and then I slowly came back in. I love being part of the Aussie team and the guys, we have such a good culture there so I always love going to camps but this is the first time I’ve actually put my foot back down and try and really push for a major.”


“Obviously with the shoulder it was a massive setback with almost three months off, it was so good to get back in the court and it really was all or nothing.”


Russell first had to make up for time spent indulging over Christmas instead of keeping up the reps.


“When I first came back from the shoulder injury it was the weight,” laughs Russell. “I wasn’t doing much over that Christmas period, so you can imagine how I came out the other side of that.”


But they don’t call him ‘The Hustle’ for nothing and Russell quickly got back into top form with help from Roller Hawks teammate Tristan Knowles.


“We’re training 5 to 6 days a week, maybe 8 sessions a week, across those days so it’s been a hard slog to get here but grateful for it.”


Russell credits his longtime training partner for pushing him this far.


“Having Tristan back in Wollongong has been a massive help. He and I train really well together. We lived in Melbourne for four years together and trained there so we know each other really well and we really push each other hard.”


“I think just having him back and knowing this could be my last opportunity to get to a World Championships and it’s on my list to do so I worked hard, Tristan’s been really motivating me and pushing me through.”


Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Wheelchair basketball Shawn Russell Tristan Knowles 1 2 scaled e1588653568128

Russell still had to win over the Australian coaching staff with a host of quality high pointers competing for limited spots.


“In terms of playing, I’m a real team player, I don’t need to have the ball, I like to work through others, and I think that’s why I got a look in for the team. I suit their new structure that we’re trying to play. It’s more team environment, ball movement, so I suit that structure really well, and I’m really patient.” 


“The fitness side I’m back to where I was which is great, but I think it’s the smarts that I’ve acquired over the years that have really got me over the line.”


The Rollers have played a number of warm up tournaments in the lead up to the World Championships, allowing Russell to separate himself from the pack and book his ticket.


“When we were in Belgium and the Netherlands we were doing a selection with the final 15 so we had, not shared minutes but they were giving people an opportunity to play which I thought was really good for me because if you’re going to play to win sometimes you might not go through all your rotations and it gave everyone a fair opportunity.”


“I thought I played quite well over there, and when we went to Thailand we were down a player due to illness so that ramped up my minutes again and let me showcase what I can potentially do for the team.“


The Rollers fly out to Turkey this week for a series of warm up games against Turkey, Japan and the USA before landing in Dubai for their opening game against Italy on June 11.


Rollers Team: Andrew Dewberry, Jannik Blair,  Bill Latham, Eithen Leard, Tristan Knowles, CJ McCarthy-Grogan, Shaun Norris, Tom O’Neill-Thorne, Frank Pinder, Kim Robins, Shawn Russell, Sam White. 





Rollers Schedule (All times AEST)

Sunday June 11 @ 20:15 AUSTRALIA vs ITALY

Wednesday June 14 @ 01:00 AUSTRALIA vs UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Wednesday June 14 @ 18:15 AUSTRALIA vs BRAZIL


Gliders Schedule (All times AEST)

Saturday June 10 @ 16:00 AUSTRALIA vs CHINA

Tuesday June 13 @ 00:45 AUSTRALIA vs BRAZIL

Tuesday June 13 @ 22:45 AUSTRALIA vs SPAIN

Wednesday June 14 @ 22:30 AUSTRALIA vs CANADA

Friday June 16 @ 20:15 AUSTRALIA vs GREAT BRITAIN



Friday June 16 Final Pool Game / Quarter Finals

Saturday June 17 Quarter Finals

Sunday June 18 Semi Finals

Monday June 19 Placing Games

Tuesday June 20 Medal Games



All games will be available to watch via the IWBF YouTube Channel.