The Australian Gliders went unbeaten at the 2022 Asia Oceania Championships in Phuket, Thailand as they claimed their first Zone title since 2013.
The women’s competition, which featured four teams – Australia, Japan, Iran, and Thailand – was the qualification event for the 2022 IWBF World Championships taking place in Dubai, UAE in November later this year. It was played in a double round-robin with the final standings determining the final placings and the top three teams qualifying for the Worlds.
It was all still to play for on the final day of the competition as Japan and Australia matched up in the battle for top spot. For the second time in the tournament though, Australia defeated Japan, this time 54-46, to remain undefeated in all six of their games and secure the Asia Oceania Championship title.
Australia Gliders Head Coach, Craig Campbell, said:
“It was great to be back in Thailand for the Asia Oceania Championships. With the start of a new Paralympic cycle, we’ve been able to bring four new athletes to play their first international games, and all have been able to contribute in each contest, resulting in a great outcome with the Gliders for their first Championship. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow the programme as we head to World Championships in Dubai later this year to test ourselves against the rest of the world.”
There were emotional scenes following the third-fourth place match between Thailand and Iran in an important game not only for final positioning, but also to earn the 2022 IWBF World Championships final qualification spot.
Heading into the game Thailand knew they had a mountainous task ahead of them, needing a 16-point win to leapfrog the Iranians for third. Led by a huge 26 points from Natnapa Ponin, the Thai team claimed their first win of the tournament, 59-50, but the nine-point win was not enough to overturn the point deficit leaving the Iranian women’s team celebrating their first-ever qualification for a World Championships after only playing on the international stage for the past 5 years.
2022 Asia Oceania Championships Final Standings:
- Australia (QF)
- Japan (QF)
- Iran (QF)
Photo Credit: Shingo ITO X-1