Rollers & Gliders name teams ahead of London Qualifers

Rollers & Gliders name teams ahead of London Qualifers

The Australian Rollers and Gliders teams that will do battle at the official London Paralympic qualifying tournament next month, the Asia Oceania Zone Championship, have been selected, with a number of big names of the sport preparing to do battle to ensure Australia’s passage to next year’s Games.

Headlining the Rollers are star players Tristan Knowles, Dylan Allcott and Justin Eveson. For the Gliders, Gylie Gauci and Cobi Crispin return to action, along with Bridie Kean and Amber Merritt.

The Asia Oceania Zone Championship, this year held in Goyang, South Korea will run from 4-11 November, with two London Games spots on both the men’s and women’s side of the competition up for grabs.

The Rollers and the Gliders are the reigning Asia Oceania Zone Champions, following wins at the 2009 championship, which was held in Dandenong, but senior national coach of the Wheelchair program Jan Stirling is confident the sides can qualify, but is certainly taking nothing for granted.

“We think we have a good balanced group and we certainly go in as best prepared as we can. We know that China is a country on the move in terms of the wheelchair game, and we always have wonderful battles with Japan so it won’t be an easy task but we’re certainly looking forward to it,” she said.

According to Stirling, the home nation Korea is a bit of an unknown, and as history often shows, home-sides can cause even the favourites all kinds of problems.

“No one knows much about Korea at all and I think that’s always fraught with danger when you’re playing against a host nation in any event. So we’ve done our best to get a little bit of information on Korea. They’ve kind of been doing their preparation in house if you like so we have to be prepared to expect the unexpected with Korea,” she said.  

According to head coach of the Rollers, Ben Ettridge, his side is looking forward to the challenge after a long and measured selection process. 

“We’ve gone through some extensive trials in the last 18 months and we’ve had a good look at maybe thirty players who have come through the program at different tournaments and camps,” said Ettridge.

“Every time we get together, it’s a gauge of where we’re at. Sometimes it’s not even on the court where we’re focused – sometimes it’s off the court stuff. Given we’ve had a selection camp with 16 guys together, three or four weeks before we go, we’re hoping that we’re pretty much on song by the second or third day,” he said.

“We’re looking at a playing environment that is not like home. Korea is a very different place to play and live and eat and get around, so it will test the guys with the different challenges they’ll get thrown on a daily basis. And it’s very important for where we want to be heading because, if you get to London, you’re relying on your 12 teammates and staff members to get you through some tough spots.”

CLICK HERE for Asia Oceania Zone Championship competition schedule (subject to change)

2011 Australian Rollers Asia Oceania Zone Championship Team

4. Justin Eveson
5. Bill Latham
6. Brett Stibners
7. Shaun Norris
8. Michael Hartnett
9. Tristan Knowles
10. John McPhail
11. Jannik Blair
12. Grant Mizens
13. Dylan Alcott
14. Nick Taylor
15. Brad Ness

Head coach: Ben Ettridge
Assistant Coaches: Tom Kyle & Matteo Feriani
Team manager: Leigh Gooding
Physio: Jesse Adams

Asia Oceania Zone Championship Men’s Competing Teams

Chinese Taipei
New Zealand

2011 Australian Rollers Asia Oceania Zone Championship Team

4. Sarah Vinci
5.  Cobi Crispin
6.  Bridie Kean
7. Amanda Carter
8.  Shelley Cronau
9.  Melanie Hall
10.  Clare Burzynski
11.  Kylie Gauci
12.  Shelley Chaplin
13.  Sarah stewart
14.  Leanne Del Toso
15. Amber Merritt

National Head Coach: Jan Stirling
Gliders Head Coach: John Triscari
Assistant Coach: Ben Osborne
Team Manager:
Marian Stewart
Physio: Miranda Wallis

Asia Oceania Zone Championship Women’s Competing Teams