The Australian Gliders will head to the 2019 IWBF Asia Oceania Championships in Pattaya, Thailand from 29th November to 7th December, 2019, under the new leadership of Head Coach Stephen Charlton.
Charlton has named a youthful side, with five changes from the team that finished ninth at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, including four players who will make their senior international debut – Teisha Shadwell, Maryanne Latu, Mary Friday, and Bree Mellberg.
Charlton commented on his selection:
“We feel that we’ve picked a very balanced and capable team for the Asia Oceania Zone qualifiers. By selecting four high, mid, and low pointers we have excellent coverage through all positions, and this is mixed with some experience along with three of our players that played in the Under 25 World Championships earlier this year. The players selected are all capable of providing important court time when needed which we think will provide an advantage throughout the tournament.
“We have five girls in this team that didn’t play in the World Championships in Hamburg last year, so we’ve had a pretty big turnover, but I think we’re in a really good place for the Asia Oceania Championships.”
With only two spots for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games up for grabs in the women’s competition, and Japan having automatically qualified as hosts, Charlton’s goal is clear.
“Wherever we play we play to win, and the Asia Oceania Championships will be no exception. We believe that when we play at our best, we can play with anyone. Obviously qualifying is the big goal and that will be our focus initially.”
Australian Glider Ella Sabljak, who made her debut at the 2018 World Championships, is excited to be selected for her country again:
“I am always so honoured to be selected to compete for Australia, especially for a qualifying tournament such as the Asia Oceania Championships. Being selected to represent your country is a feeling that can’t be explained until you have been a part of it. To go into battle with my other eleven teammates is one of the best feelings.”
But she knows that they will have to focus in order to ensure their ticket to Tokyo:
“Our team goal going into this competition is obviously to qualify for Tokyo 2020, however, to get there we have to stick to our game plans and trust the process. Specifically, we will look at dominating the rebounds, we have the best high pointers in the competition to do this and limiting teams second chance points.”
Sabljak is aware of the tough competition that they will face, adding:
“The competition this year will be one of the toughest yet for both the Rollers and Gliders. In the women’s competition, China and Japan will both be extremely tough for us to play against. China finished fourth at the World Championships last year in Hamburg, so they are constantly building as a team and I suspect trying to aim higher at Tokyo. Japan are always a tough team to play against, they are a very skilled team throughout all classes making it tough to defend. However, we have played Japan a handful of times to know what they do well and where we can exploit their weaknesses, so it’ll be a battle the whole tournament.”
Australia will play a double round robin in Division 1 against China and Japan to decide placings for the semi-finals. The winner of Division 2 will then take up the fourth spot in the semi-final pairings. The first game for the Australian Gliders is against Japan on Saturday 30th November at 11:30am (local time).
|Vest Number||Player Name||Sport Class||Age|
|8||Georgia Munro Cook||4.5||25|
Australia’s Past Results
2018 – 9th
2014 – 6th
2010 – 4th
2006 – 4th
2002 – 3rd Bronze
1998 – 3rd Bronze
1994 – 3rd Bronze
1990 – 6th
2012 – 2nd Silver
2008 – 3rd Bronze
2004 – 2nd Silver
2000 – 2nd Silver
1996 – 4th
Photo courtesy of X-1