The Australian Rollers and Gliders have finalised their teams of 12 to compete at the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s (IWBF) World Championships next month in Dubai.
VIS scholarship holders Isabel Martin and Laura Davoli have been selected in the 12-strong Australian Gliders team, while VIS Head Wheelchair Basketball Coach Craig Campbell will guide the Gliders in Dubai as the Head Coach.
Tipping off on Friday 9 June and running through until Tuesday 20 June, the World Championships will see 300 elite international wheelchair basketballers, representing 16 men’s and 12 women’s teams, battle it out over the twelve-day competition.
The Rollers will have five new faces making their debut at a World Championships with Andrew Dewberry, Eithen Leard, Clarence McCarthy-Grogan, Frank Pinder and Shawn Russell all named in the squad.
Joining them will be a host of experienced campaigners and recent Tokyo Paralympians including Tristan Knowles, Samuel White, Jannik Blair, Shaun Norris, Kim Robins, Bill Latham and Tom O’Neill-Thorne.
While a number of Aussie Gliders have already debuted for Australia, there are eight athletes who will compete at a World Championships for the first time. These players include Lucinda Bueti, Jess Cronje, Laura Davoli, Annabelle Dennis, Breanna Fisk, Maryanne Latu, Georgia Inglis and Isabel Martin.
Suiting up in the green and gold alongside them will be the familiar faces of Hannah Dodd, Amber Merritt, Georgia Munro-Cook and Sarah Vinci – all well-known on the international stage.
Gliders Head Coach, Craig Campbell, said he was looking forward to the championships, especially since they had been postponed from 2022.
“As a team we can’t wait to compete against the best in the world and see what we can produce, and it’s exciting to see a number of players make their World Champs debut – it’s been a long time coming since the event was postponed from last year,” he said.
“With that extra time, we’ve been able to refine our preparation by undertaking camps at the AIS and playing more games against international teams in the lead up, which is always crucial to finalising structures and plans.
“We know we’re going up against opponents with a lot of experience so for us, we’ll be making sure every single push is with intent and the Aussie spirit is as strong as you’d expect when pulling on that green and gold jersey.”
Head coach of the Rollers, Craig Friday, said the squad would love to push for a spot on the podium.
“We know it’s going to be a challenging tournament, all world events are, however we’d love to see the guys vie for a medal and push as hard as we can,” Friday said.
“The team has trained really hard in the lead up and we’ve got a balance of young guys coming up and experienced players who can also steady the ship when needed, so we’re hoping that mix will suit us well.
“Finishing within the top four overall will be a goal of all teams as the road to Paris begins to unfold – we want to make sure the Asia zone achieves a number of slots.”
Sitting in Group B, the Gliders will need to beat some serious competition if they are to progress to the finals, coming up against Brazil, Canada, Spain, China and Great Britain in the group phase.
The Rollers are positioned in Group A and face Brazil, Italy and hosts UAE in the first stage.
For more information on the (IWBF) World Championships including the schedule and live streaming information, click here.
Rollers Coaches & Staff
Craig Friday – Head Coach
Grant Mizens – Head Assistant
Brad Ness – Assistant Coach
Shane Furness – Technical Assistant
Gliders Coaches & Staff
Craig Campbell – Head Coach (*VIS Head Coach)
Tina McKenzie – Head Assistant
Lauren Robinson – Assistant Coach
Warren Brown – Technical Assistant