Australia women's national wheelchair basketball team

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IWBF Ranking 2nd
IWBF zone Asia Oceania
National federation Basketball Australia
Coach Tom Kyle
Nickname(s) Gliders
Paralympic Games
Appearances 6
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World Championships
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Light jersey
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Team colours
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Dark jersey
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Team colours

The Australia women's national wheelchair basketball team is the women's wheelchair basketball side that represents Australia in international competitions. The team is known as the Gliders. The team hasn't won a gold medal for Australia since it began competing at the 1992 Summer Paralympics, however it has won either the silver or bronze medal since the 2000 Summer Paralympics held in Sydney, and is currently ranked 2nd.


Peter Corr, Head Coach of the Australian women's wheelchair basketball team, the Gliders, celebrates

Women's wheelchair basketball was first played at the 1968 Summer Paralympics in Tel Aviv, but Australia did not have a team that competed until 1992 in Barcelona.[1]

The 1996 Summer Paralympics were the first Paralympics basketball tournament to feature the three-wheeled wheelchair. Most of the women on the Australian team opted to use the traditional four-wheeled wheelchair.[2]


Prior to the start of the 1996 Paralympics, Australia was ranked third in the world after their bronze medal at the 1994 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship, behind first placed Canada and United States.[3][4] In lead up preparations for the games, the team toured Canada.[5] Australia's women's team beat the American team at the Paralympics in pool play. This was viewed as extremely significant by Australian women's wheelchair basketball fans and the Australian Paralympic Federation because the game was invented in America. Also, it was the first time that the Australian women had defeated the Americans. The match had even more significance because Australia needed to win it in order to stay in contention for a medal. Australia was down 21–16 at halftime. Australia went up with seven minutes left in the second half. The match finished with a score of 31–27 in Australia's favour. American Sharon Herbst was their team's start performer and she caused a number of problems for Australia's defence. During the game, several players were knocked out of their wheelchairs, including Australia's Melissa Ferrett.[3] The Americans challenged the win, protesting because they believed the Australians were not wearing matching uniforms. [6] Australia beat Brazil 67–8, beat the USA 31–27 and lost to Germany 34–26 in pool play.[2] They lost to Canada in the semi-finals, going down 31–36. They played the Americans in the bronze medal match, losing 30–41.[3] The team's top scorer in the competition was Liesl Tesch.[3]

In 1998, the team again won a bronze medal at the World Championships.[7] In April and May 1999, the team was invited by the Kinki Wheelchair Basketball Association and the Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation to compete in a tournament in Japan to celebrate twenty-five years of wheelchair basketball in that country. The Australian team won every game they competed in, including three test matches against the Japanese team. The last test was played before Japan's royalty, and Australia won 61-25. The team had an official team dinner with Emperor Akihito of Japan during this tour.[7]

The team won silver medals at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, with a bronze medal at the 2002 World Championships. Prior to the start of the 2008 Paralympics, the team was ranked fourth in the world. They received this rank by beating Japan and New Zealand in the qualifying tournament for the games.[8]

In 2008, the team competed in the Osaka Cup. They earned a silver medal, only losing to the United States in the final. The Gliders lost to the United States 20-52. After the Osaka Cup, the team competed in the Goodluck Beijing Test Event, where they won three matches and lost one against China. The team then competed in the Joseph F. Lyttle World Basketball Challenge, where they finished third. They then went to the United States and competed in the North America Cup, where they finished fourth. The team then went back to China where they played five matches against China, where they went undefeated.[8]

The Australia women's national wheelchair basketball team at the 2012 Summer Paralympics consisted of twelve included nine veterans with 15 Paralympic Games between them: Bridie Kean, Amanda Carter, Sarah Stewart, Tina McKenzie, Kylie Gauci, Katie Hill, Cobi Crispin, Clare Nott and Shelley Chaplin; and three newcomers: Amber Merritt, Sarah Vinci and Leanne Del Toso. The Gliders, who had won silver in the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, but had never won gold, finished at the top of their pool in the group stage of the competition with victories over Brazil, Great Britain and the Netherlands. They then went on to win in the quarter final against Mexico and the semi final against the United States, only to lose to Germany in the final.


Liesl Tesch competed in the 1998 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships. This helped Tesch be named to the World All-Star Five for the second year in a row.[7]In 2008, she competed in her fifth Paralympic games, having competed on every squad Australia had at the games to date.[1]

Between 1992 and 2008, 27 players have competed for the Australian women's national wheelchair basketball team in the Paralympics. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, six players, half of the team, were competing in their first Paralympic Games.[1]

The 1996 Paralympic team was captained by Donna Ritchie.[3]


Australian women's wheelchair basketball team coach Peter Corr talking to the team during 2000 Summer Paralympics match

The coach of Australia's 1996 Paralympic team was Peter Corr. [3] He continued to be the coach through to 1999. His assistant coaches in 1999 were Tracy York and Michael Callahan. The 1999 team was managed by Kevin Smith.[7]


EnergyAustralia was the team's sponsor in 1998, 1999 and 2000.[7]

See also[edit]



  • Australian Paralympic Committee (September 1999). "Basketball - Wheelchair Women". Annual Report - 1999 (Sydney, Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee). 
  • Australian Paralympic Committee (2008). "Basketball (Wheelchair)". Media Guide Beijing 2008 (Sydney, New South Wales: Australian Paralympic Committee). 
  • Australian Paralympic Federation (November 1992). "History in Madrid". LINK (Sydney, New South Wales: Australian Paralympic Federation). 
  • Overington, Caroline (1996a). "Basketballers beat the US at their own game". Golden days of Atlanta : Xth Paralympic Games Atlanta, Georgia, August 15–25, 1996 (Sydney: Australian Paralympic Federation): 21–23. OCLC 222120061. 
  • Webster, Jim (1996). "Success for superteam". Golden days of Atlanta : Xth Paralympic Games Atlanta, Georgia, August 15–25, 1996 (Sydney: Australian Paralympic Federation): 6–8. OCLC 222120061. 

External links[edit]