Gliders Journey to Japan

A 12-strong Australian Gliders team will travel to Japan next week to compete in the Osaka Cup

A 12-strong Australian Gliders team will travel to Japan next week to compete in the Osaka Cup between 7-13 February at Maruzen Intec Arena, Osaka.

Established to promote and elevate para sports, the Osaka Cup provides another opportunity for the world’s strongest women’s wheelchair basketballers to compete on the international stage.

Headlining the tournament will be the reigning champions, the Netherlands, while Canada and the host nation, Japan, complete the four-nation line-up.

Donning the green and gold for the Aussies, the Gliders’ team consists of a host of players from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic team including Victoria’s Isabel Martin, New South Wales local Georgia Munro-Cook and Western Australian, Sarah Vinci.

Another one of these athletes is experienced campaigner and 200-gamer, Amber Merritt, who said travelling to Japan for this series was always an important and valuable way to kickstart the Gliders’ calendar.

“Historically it’s been an amazing tournament to start the year, giving the team an opportunity to play against some of the world’s best in a high-quality and professional environment,” Merritt said.

Echoing Merritt’s sentiments, Head Coach of the Gliders, Craig Campbell, said the Osaka Cup will be vital for the team’s preparation leading into the World Championships in Dubai and Paris 2024 qualifiers later in the year.

“This next 12 months will be a crucial and busy year for the Australian Women’s Wheelchair basketball program and it’s important we make the most of every opportunity,” Campbell said.

“We have the World Championships in June, followed by Paris 2024 qualifiers in December, so having high-level international games are incredibly beneficial for both athlete development and our development as a program,” he added.

In addition to competing on the court, the Gliders will also have the chance to engage with the local community in Osaka and promote wheelchair basketball in schools and through cultural initiatives arranged by event organisers.

“The tournament allows us to give back and immerse ourselves in the community, and this is always a highlight for players and staff,” Merritt added.

“We love taking part in cultural experiences and look forward to running clinics at Joto Elementary and Kitatsumori Elementary schools – it’s an opportunity for students to learn about our sport and disability.”

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What: The Osaka Cup
Dates: 7-13 February 2023
Venue: Maruzen Intec Arena Osaka
Details: Competition Schedule

Gliders Team list:
Breanna Fisk, NSW
Jess Cronje, NSW
Maryanne Latu, NSW
Georgia Munro-Cook, NSW
Lucinda Bueti, SA
Katelin Gunn, SA
Annabelle Dennis, SA
Isabel Martin, VIC
Amber Merritt, WA
Georgia Inglis, WA
Sarah Vinci, WA
Taishar Ovens, WA

Craig Campbell (Head Coach) VIC
Tina McKenzie (Assistant Coach) VIC
Katherine Taylor (Physiotherapist) VIC
Michelle Swain (Manager) WA

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