The Gliders will be competing against seven other countries from the Asia-Oceania Zone (AOZ) and will be hoping to improve on their ninth-place finish from the 2018 World Championship, with a clear focus on qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Head Coach Stephen Charlton has recently taken over the leadership role in the team and will be supported by Murray Treseder, Craig Campbell and newly appointed assistant Janna Mizens (ex-Paralympic Gold medallist with the USA).
Two positions for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will be available with Japan having automatically qualified as hosts.
Under the guidance of Karen Haddad from the NSWIS performance team, the Gliders have been working hard on and off the court and have made some impressive professional and cultural developments as a group, coming together to form an extremely tight bond.
Head Coach Stephen Charlton said the group heading to Pattaya is filled with an exciting mix of players.
“We have a lot of young players coming through who will be making their first appearance at a major tournament for the Gliders, including five players that didn't attend World’s last year and four that played for the U25 Devils team in May.
“I think we have a great spread of experience and youth throughout the different classifications and we're balanced nicely with four players in each.
“We're hoping this will give us some flexibility and allow us to remain fresh and keep up the work rate on the floor.”
The Gliders will be led by Amber Merritt, who is coming off a great WNWBL season with the Perth Wheelcats, averaging 33.1 points, 14.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
Other high pointers Annabelle Lindsay and Georgia Munro-Cook will be called on to play quality minutes and both are capable of solid games at both ends of the floor.
16-year-old Teisha Shadwell will be making her first major benchmark tournament appearance at senior level after impressing at the U25’s earlier this year.
The low-point group are highly experienced with three players who have returned from last year’s team, Sarah Vinci, Ella Sabljak and Hannah Dodd, with Mary Friday makes her senior AOZ debut after impressing at the U25's this year.
The mid-point group consists of Shelley Cronau, Georgia Inglis and Bree Mellberg with Maryanne Latu making her senior Gliders debut after silver medal success in the Devils U25s.
“I feel very excited about this team and we will head to Thailand full of confidence, but also very aware of the very tough challenge we face against China and Japan,” Charlton said.
The first game for the Gliders is Saturday 30th of November taking on Japan.
All games will be livestreamed via IWBF YouTube channel.
The Australian Gliders team for the 2019 Asia Oceania zone (AOZ) Championships:
|Georgia Inglis||Perth Wheelcats||2.5|
|Bree Mellberg||Kilsyth Cobras||3.0|
|Shelley Cronau||Queensland Comets||2.5|
|Teisha Shadwell||Kilsyth Cobras||4.5|
|Hannah Dodd||Sydney University Flames||1.0|
|Maryanne Latu||Sydney Metro Blue Hornets||2.0|
|Annabelle Lindsay||Sydney University Flames||4.5|
|Amber Merritt||Perth Wheelcats||4.5|
|Georgia Munro-Cook||Sydney Metro Blue Hornets||4.5|
|Mary Friday||Perth Wheelcats||1.0|
|Ella Sabljak||Queensland Comets||1.0|
|Sarah Vinci||Perth Wheelcats||1.0|
|Stephen Charlton||Head Coach|
|Murray Treseder||Assistant Coach|
|Craig Campbell||Assistant/Technical Coach|
|Janna Mizens||Assistant Coach|
|Karen Haddad||Performance Psychologist|
|Cathy Lambert||Team Manager|
The Australian Gliders Schedule for the 2019 AOZ Championships:
November 30: Gliders vs. Japan – 11:30am (GMT+7)
December 1: Day off – training day
December 2: Gliders vs. China – 9:30am (GMT+7)
December 3: Gliders vs. Japan – 3:00pm (GMT+7)
December 4: Day off – training day
December 5: Gliders vs. China – 2:00pm (GMT+7)
December 6: Semi-Finals - 3:30pm and 4:00pm (GMT+7)
December 7: Medal games - 11:30am and 12:00pm (GMT+7)