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July 1, 2014

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball coach Tom Kyle

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball coach Tom Kyle

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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Toronto , Canada — What experiences makes a coach of an international sports team? Wikinews interviewed Tom Kyle, the coach of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders, in Toronto for the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.

Tom Kyle
Image: Hawkeye7 .

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Tell us about yourself. First of all, where were you born?

Tom Kyle: I was born in Cooma, in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Way back in 1959. Fifteenth of June. Grew up in the Snowy Mountains Scheme with my family. At that stage my father worked for the Snowy scheme. And started playing sport when I was very young. I was a cricketer when I first started. Then about the age of 12, 13 I discovered basketball. Because it had gotten too cold to do all the sports that I wanted to do, and we had a lot of rain one year, and decided then that for a couple of months that we’d have a go at basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you took up basketball. When did you decide… did you play for the clubs?

Tom Kyle: I played for Cooma. As a 14-year-old I represented them in the under-18s, and then as a 16-year-old I represented them in the senor men’s competition. We played in Canberra as a regional district team. At the age of 16 is when I first started coaching. So I started coaching the under-14 rep sides before the age of 16. So I’m coming up to my forty years of coaching.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you formed an ambition to be a coach at that time?

Tom Kyle: Yeah, I liked the coaching. Well I was dedicated to wanting to be a PE [Physical Education] teacher at school. And in Year 12 I missed out by three marks of getting the scholarship that I needed. I couldn’t go to university without a scholarship, and I missed out by three marks of getting in to PE. So I had a choice of either doing a Bachelor of Arts and crossing over after year one, or go back and do Year 12 [again]. Because of my sport in Cooma, because I played every sport there was, and my basketball started to become my love.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png} You still played cricket?

Tom Kyle: Still played cricket. Was captain of the ACT [Australian Capital Territory] in cricket at the age of 12. Went on to… potentially I could have gone further but cricket became one of those sports where you spend all weekend, four afternoons a week…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know what it’s like.

Tom Kyle: At that stage I was still an A grade cricketer in Cooma and playing in Canberra, and rugby league and rugby union, had a go at AFL [Australian Football League], soccer. Because in country towns you play everything. Tennis on a Saturday. Cricket or football on a Sunday. That sort of stuff so… And then basketball through the week.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you didn’t get in to PE, so what did you do?

Tom Kyle: I went back and did Year 12 twice. I repeated Year 12, which was great because it allowed me to play more of the sport, which I loved. Didn’t really work that much harder but I got the marks that I needed to get the scholarship to Wollongong University. It was the Institute of Education at that stage. So I graduated high school in ’78, and started at the Institute of Education Wollongong in ’79, as a health and PE — it was a double major. So a dual degree, a four year degree. After two years there they merged the Institute of Education with the University of Wollongong. So I got a degree from the University of Wollongong and I got a degree from the Institute of Education. So I graduated from there in ’83. At that stage I was coaching and playing rep basketball in Wollongong in their team underneath the NBL I played state league there for Shellharbour. Still coaching as well with the University, coaching the university sides. It was there that I met up with Doctor Adrian Hurley, who was then one of the Australian coaches, and he actually did some coaching with me when I was at the University, in the gym. So that gave me a good appreciation of coaching and the professionalism of it. He really impressed me and inspired me to do a bit more of it. So in ’84 I got married and I moved to Brisbane, and started teaching and looking after the sport of basketball and tennis at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You moved to Brisbane for the job?

Tom Kyle: Yes, I was given a job and a house. The job basically entailed looking after their gymnasium and doing some part-time teaching as well as being the basketball convener and tennis convener. I looked after those sports for the private boys school. Churchie is a very big school in Brisbane and so I did that in ’84 with my wife at that stage and we lived on the premises. In 1985 I took a team of fifteen boys from Churchie into the United States for a couple of summer camp tours which we do, and I got involved in the Brisbane Bullets team at that stage, getting them moved in to Churchie to train. The Brisbane Bullets was the NBL team in Brisbane at the time. So that got me involved in the Brisbane coaching and junior basketball. I was actually in charge of junior basketball for the Brisbane association. As part of that, I coached at Churchie as well. Looked after some things at the Brisbane Bullets’ home games. So that got me well and truly involved in that. And then in ’85 was the birth of my first son, and with that came a bit of change of priorities, so then in 1986 I moved back to Sydney. I got offered a job at Harbord Diggers Memorial Club at Harbord, looking after their sports centre. So I saw that as an opportunity to get out of, I suppose, the teaching side of things at that stage didn’t appeal to me, the coaching side did, the teaching side and the fact that you had to follow the curriculums, and some of the things you weren’t allowed to have fun, to me if you’re going to learn you’ve got to have fun. So that was my sort of enough for the teaching side, I figured I’d go and do something else, and get to keep my coaching alive on the side. So I moved back to Sydney, with my family and my young son. I had a second son in 1987, and I started coaching the Manly-Warringah senior men’s and development league teams. We were in the state league at that stage. So I had both of those teams and I was coaching them, travelling around the north of the state, and competing. We were fortunate enough we came second the year I was the head coach of the men in the state competition for our area. That gave me a whole new perspective of coaching, because it was now senior men’s coaching as well as junior men’s. We had people like Ian Davies coming out of the NBL at Sydney and trying out wanting to play with the men’s squad. Fair quality in that group. The Dalton boys came out of that program. I didn’t coach them, but Brad and Mark Dalton who played for the Kings. That gave me a good couple of years. At that stage I’d changed jobs. I’d actually moved up to Warringah Aquatic Centre in Sydney. Which was at the time the state swimming centre. And I was the director of that for a year. Or eighteen, nineteen months. In that time we held the selection criteria for the 1988 Seoul Olympics swimming. So the national championships and what they call the Olympic selection qualifiers. So we held them at the Warringah Aquatic Centre when I was in charge of it which made it quite an interesting thing, because there I got to see elite sport at its best. Australian swimming. All the swimmers coming through. Lisa Curry has just retired, and I saw her. All the swimmers going to Seoul. That gave me a good appreciation of professional sport, as well as managing sports facilities. So I was there for two years, eighteen months basically. And we’d made a decision that we wanted to come back to Brisbane. So moved back to Brisbane in 1989, to take up a job as a marketing officer at the Department of Recreation at Brisbane City Council. That was my full-time job. Meanwhile, again, I got involved in a bit of coaching. My sons were looking at becoming involved, they were going through St Peter Chanel School at The Gap, and that was a feeder school for Marist Brothers Ashgrove in Brisbane, which was a big Catholic boys’ school in Brisbane. So I started to get involved in Marist Brothers Ashgrove basketball program, and I became the convener of basketball as well as the head coach there for about seven or eight years running their program, while my boys, obviously, were going through the school. That was a voluntary thing, because I was still working for the [Brisbane City] Council when I first started. At that stage I’d also quit the council job and started my own IT [Information Technology] company. Which was quite interesting. Because as a sideline I was writing software. At Warringah Aquatic Centre one of the things when I got there they didn’t have a computer system, they only had a cash register. And I asked them about statistics and the council didn’t have much money, they said, “well, here’s an old XT computer”, it was an old Wang actually, so it was not quite an XT.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know the ones.

Tom Kyle: You know the ones?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes.

Tom Kyle: And they gave me that, and they said, “Oh, you got no software.” One of the guys at council said “we’ve got an old copy of DataEase. We might give you that,” which old an old database programming tool. So I took that and I wrote a point of sale system for the centre. And then we upgraded from DataEase, we went to dBase III and dBase IV. Didn’t like dBase IV, it had all these bugs in it, so my system started to crash. So I’d go home at night and write the program, and then come back and put it into the centre during the day so they could collect the statistics I wanted. It was a simple point of sale system, but it was effective, and then we upgraded that to Clipper and I started programming object orientated while I was there, and wrote the whole booking system, we had bookings for the pools, learn-to-swim bookings, point of sale. We actually connected it to an automatic turnstyle with the coin entry so it gave me a whole heap of new skills in IT that I never had before, self-taught, because I’d never done any IT courses, when I went to Brisbane City Council and that didn’t work out then I started my own computer company. I took what I’d written in Clipper and decided to rewrite that in Powerbuilder. You’ve probably heard of it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes.

Tom Kyle: So that’s when I started my own company. Walked out of the Brisbane City Council. I had an ethical disagreement with my boss, who spent some council money going to a convention at one place and doing some private consultancy, which I didn’t agree with Council funds being done like that, so I resigned. Probably the best move of my business life. It then allowed me then to become an entrepreneur of my own, so I wrote my own software, and started selling a leisure package which basically managed leisure centres around the country. And I had the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] as one of my clients.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Oh!

Tom Kyle: Yes, they have a turnstyle entry system and learn-to-swim booking system and they were using it for many years. Had people all over the country. I ended up employing ten people in my company, which was quite good, right through to, I suppose, 1997?, somewhere in there. And I was still coaching full time, well, not full time, but, voluntary, for about 35 hours a week at Ashgrove at the time, as well as doing, I did the Brisbane under-14 rep side as well, so that gave me a good appreciation of rep basketball. So I’d been coaching a lot of school basketball in that time. And then in 2000 I decided to give that away and went to work for Jupiters Casino. Bit of a change. I started as a business analyst and ended up as a product development manager. I was doing that, I was going through a divorce, still coaching at Ashgrove, I had been at Ashgrove now from 1992 through to 2003. I had been coaching full time as the head coach, coordinator of all the coaches and convener of the sport for the school. We won our competitions a number of times. We went to the state schools competition as a team there one year. Which we did quite well. Didn’t win it but, did quite well. In 2003 my boys had finished at school and I’d got a divorce at that stage. Been offered another opportunity to go to Villanova College, which was a competing school across the other side of the river. So I started head coaching there for five years. It was there where I started to get into wheelchair basketball. It is an interesting story, because at that stage I’d moved on from Jupiters Casino. I’d actually started working for various companies, and I ended up with Suncorp Metway as a project manager. Got out of my own company and decided to earn more money as a consultant. [evil laugh]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A common thing.

Tom Kyle: But it was in Suncorp Metway where I got into wheelchair basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How does that happen?

Tom Kyle: At the time I was spending about 35 to 40 hours a week at Villanova College, coaching their program and my new wife, Jane, whom you’ve met…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who is now the [Gliders’] team manager.

Tom Kyle: Correct. She was left out a little bit because I’d be with the guys for many many hours. We did lot of good things together because I had a holistic approach to basketball. It’s not about just playing the game, it’s about being better individuals, putting back into your community and treating people the right way, so we used to do a lot of team building and […] cause you’re getting young men at these schools, trying to get them to become young adults. And she saw what we were doing one time, went to an awards dinner, and she was basically gobsmacked by what relationship we had with these boys. How well mannered they were and what influence we had. How these boys spoke of the impact on their lives. It was where she said to me, “I really want to get involved in that. I want to be part of that side of your life.” And I said, “Okay, we might go out and volunteer.” We put our names down at Sporting Wheelies, the disabled association at the time, to volunteer in disabled sports. Didn’t hear anything for about four months, so I thought, oh well, they obviously didn’t want me. One of my colleagues at work came to me and he said “Tom, you coach wheelchair basketball?” I said, “yeah, I do.” And he said, “Well, my son’s in a wheelchair, and his team’s looking for a coach. Would you be interested?” And I thought about it. And I said, “Well, coaching for about 35 hours a week over here at Villanova School. I don’t think my wife will allow me to coach another 20 hours somewhere else, but give me the information and I’ll see what we can do.” He gave me the forms. I took the forms home. It was actually the Brisbane Spinning Bullets, at that stage, which was the National [Wheelchair Basketball] League team for Queensland. They were looking for coaching staff. I took the forms home, which was a head coach role, an assistant head coach role, and a manager role. I left them on the bench, my wife Jane took a look at it and said, “Hey! They’re looking for a manager! If I’d be the manager, you could be the head coach, it’s something we could do it together. We always said we’d do something together, and this is an opportunity.” I said, “Okay, if you want to do that. I’m still not going to drop my Villanova commitments, I’m going to keep that going. So that was in the beginning of 2008. So we signed up and lo and behold, I got the appointment as the head coach and she got the appointment as the manager. So it was something we started to share. Turned up at the first training session and met Adrian King and Tige Simmonds, Rollers, Australian players… I’d actually heard of Adrian because we’d had a young boy at Ashgrove called Sam Hodge. He was in a chair and he brought Adrian in for a demonstration one day. I was quite impressed by the way he spoke, and cared about the kids. So to me it was like an eye-opener. So I started coaching that year, started in January–February, and obviously it was leading in to the Paralympics in 2008, Beijing. And coaching the team, I started coaching the national League, a completely different came, the thing I liked about it is wheelchair basketball is like the old-school basketball, screen and roll basketball. You can’t get anywhere unless somebody helps you get there. It’s not one-on-one like the able-bodied game today. So that was really up my alley, and I really enjoyed that. I applied a couple of things the boys hadn’t actually seen, and as it turns out, I ended up coaching against the [Perth] Wheelcats in a competition round. And I didn’t at the time know, that the guy on the other bench was Ben Ettridge, the head coach for the Rollers. And after the weekend we shook hands and he said, “I really like what you do, what you’re trying to do with this group. And he said I like the way you coach and your style. Would you be interested if the opportunity came up to come down to Canberra and participate in a camp. He said “I can’t pay you to be there, but if you want to come along…” I said “Absolutely. I’ll be there.” So about three or four weeks later I get a phone call from Ben and he said “We’ve got a camp coming up in February, would you like to come in?” I said: “Yep, absolutely”, so I went and flew myself down there and attended the camp. Had a great time getting to know the Rollers, and all of that, and I just applied what I knew about basketball, which wasn’t much about wheelchair, but a lot about basketball, ball movement and timing. And I think he liked what he saw. The two of us got on well. And out of that camp they were getting the team prepared to go to Manchester. They were going into Varese first, Manchester for the British Telecom Paralympic Cup that they have in May, which is an event that they do prior to some of these major events. That was 2009, my mistake, after Beijing; so the camp was after Beijing as well. So I was sitting at Suncorp Metway running a big CRM program at the time, because they had just merged with Promina Insurances, so they’d just acquired all these companies like AAMI, Vero and all those companies, so we had all of these disparate companies and we were trying to get a single view of the customer, so I was running a major IT project to do that. And I get a phone call from Ben on the Friday, and he said “Look, Tom, we’re going to Varese in the May, and we’re going on to Manchester.” I said, “I know”. And he said, “Craig Friday, my assistant coach, can’t make it. Got work commitments.” I said: “Oh, that’s no good.” And he said: “Would you be interested in going?” And I said “Well, when’s that?” And he said: “Monday week.” And this was on the Friday. And I said: “Look, I’m very interested, but let me check with my boss, because I [am] running a big IT project.” So I went to my boss on the Friday and I said “Look, I am very keen to do this Australian opportunity. Two weeks away. You okay if I take two weeks off?” And he said. “Oh, let me think about it.” The Monday was a public holiday, so I couldn’t talk to him then. And I said “Well, I need to know, because it’s Monday week, and I need to let him know.” And he said, “I’ll let you know Tuesday morning.” So I sort of thought about it over the weekend, and I rang Ben on the Sunday night I think it was, and I said “I’m in!” He said: “Are you okay with work?” I said: “Don’t worry about that, I’ll sort it out.” Anyway, walked into work on Tuesday morning and the boss said… and I said I just to put it on the table: I’m going. You need to decide whether you want me to come back.” And he said: “What?!” And I said, “Well, I love my basketball. My basketball has been my life for many years, many, many hours. Here’s an opportunity to travel with an Australian side. I’m telling you that I’m taking the opportunity, and you need to determine whether you want me back. ” And he said: “Really?” And I said: “Yeah. Yeah. That’s it.” And he said: “Well, I’ll have to think about that.” And I said, “well you think about it but I’ve already told the Australian coach I’m going. It’s a decision for you whether you want me back. If you don’t, that’s fine, I don’t have a problem.” So on the Wednesday he came back and said: “We’re not going to allow you to go.” I said: “Well, I’m going. So here’s my resignation.” He says: “You’d really do that?” And I said: “Absolutely.” And I resigned. So on the Friday I finished up, and got on a plane on Monday, and headed to Varese as Ben’s assistant on the tour. Got to spend a bit more time with Tige Simmonds and Adrian and Justin and Brad and Shaun and all the boys and had a fabulous time. Learnt a lot. And then we went on to Manchester and learnt even more, and I think Ben was quite happy with what I’d done. With my technical background I took over all the video analysis stuff and did all that recording myself. We didn’t really want any hiccups so he was pretty happy with that. So after that Ben asked me if I would be interested in becoming an assistant coach with the under-23s, because the then-coach was Mark Walker and Ben Osborne was his assistant but he wanted somebody else who, as he put it, he could trust, in that group, because a number of his developing players were in that group. So that meant that I had some camps to do in June when I came back, and then in July, think it was July, 2009, went to England and Paris with the under-23s for the world championships. That was my first foray as an assistant coach officially with the Australian team, and I was the assistant coach. It was a combined team at that stage, boys and girls. Cobi Crispin was on that tour. Amber Merritt was on that tour. Adam Deans was on that tour, Colin Smith, Kim Robbins, John McPhail, all of those. There was a number of junior Rollers coming through that group. Bill Latham was on that tour. He really appreciated what I’d done there, and when Craig Friday said that he was having a family and couldn’t commit to the next year in 2010 which was the world championship year, Ben asked me to join the program. So that’s how I started. So in 2010 I attended my first official world championships with the Rollers, and we won.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes!

Tom Kyle: So that was an amazing experience to go on that tour and to see what a championship team looks like under the competition of that ilk. And I was then the assistant coach basically right through to London. After London, Ben was quite happy for me to continue. I was doing it voluntarily. By this stage, 2011, I’d given up all the Villanova stuff so I concentrated just on the wheelchair and my Queensland group. And I started to build the Queensland junior program, which featured Tom O’Neill-Thorne, Jordon Bartley, Bailey Rowland, all of those sort of players. You probably don’t know too many of them, but,

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png No.

Tom Kyle: They’re all the up-and-comers. And three of those were in last year’s, 2013 under-23s team. So in 2012 obviously we went to Varese then on to London for the Paras. Won silver in that. When I came back, Ben asked me to do the under-23s as the head coach, and asked me who I wanted as my assistant, so in the December, we, David Gould and I…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you selected David as your assistant?

Tom Kyle: Yes! Yes! Yes! I had a lot of dealings with David, seeing him with the Gliders. Liked what I saw. Plus I’d also seen him with the Adelaide Thunder. He was coaching them for a while, and I really liked the way he worked with kids. He’d also done a camp with the under-23s in 2012 because I couldn’t attend, himself and Sonia Taylor. What was Sonia’s previous name before she married Nick Taylor? […] Anyway, they did a development camp in January 2012 with the under-23s group because I couldn’t attend. Good feedback coming back from that. In the April, the Rollers had gone off to Verase, and there was an opportunity to go to Dubai with the under-23/25 age group. So David and Sonia took them to Dubai and did a good job with them, a really great job with them. So the job for the 23s came up in November 2012. I applied. Got the job. And then was asked who I would want as my assistants, and Ben told me who the other applicants were and I told him, yep, happy with both of those. David became my first assistant […] So we took the under-23s group in December. Had a couple of camps in the first part of 2013, getting ready for the world championships in Turkey in September. At that stage we got to about June, and the head coach for the Gliders came up as a full time position.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They hadn’t had a full-time coach before.

Tom Kyle addresses his players at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Tom Kyle: No, it was all voluntary so John Triscari was, well, not voluntary; was getting a little bit of money, not a great deal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But it wasn’t a full time job.

Tom Kyle: No. So Basketball Australia decided that they needed a full-time coach, which was a big investment for them, and they thought this was the next step for the Gliders. So at the end of May, I remember talking to my wife, because at that stage she’d been on the Gliders’ tour as a replacement manager for Marion Stewart. Marion couldn’t go on a certain tour, to Manchester, so Jane filled in. And they talked to her about possibly becoming the manager of the Gliders moving forward if Marion ever wanted to retire. So in the May when the job came up I looked at it and went, well, can’t, it’s a conflict of interest, because if I put my name up, potentially Jane misses out on being the manager. Also I thought if Ben really wants me to go for it he would have asked me. He hasn’t mentioned it, so, I didn’t apply at first look at it. And then I was just happening to talk to Ben on the side about something else and he asked me if I had put in for the Gliders and I said no I hadn’t. And he asked me why, and I told him if you would have I probably would have, and with Jane. And he said Jane shouldn’t be an issue, and he said I want you to go for it. I said, well, if you’re happy, because I’m loyal to whoever I’m with, I said I’m loyal to you Ben, and at the end of the day I’d stay with the Rollers if you want me to stay with the Rollers. Because for me I enjoy doing whatever I’m doing, and I love the program. He said no, no, I want you to put in for it. So then I had to discuss it with the wife because it meant initially that would want us to move to Sydney. That was still in the cards. So Jane and I had a talk about that. And I said, look, I’d go for it on the condition that it didn’t interfere with Jane’s opportunity to become the manager. So I put in my resume, I got an interview, and in the interview I went to Sydney, and I put all the cards on the table. I said look, the bottom line is that if it’s going to jeopardize Jane’s chances of being the manager, I will opt out. And at that stage they said no, they see that as possibly a positive, rather than a negative. So I said okay, if that’s the case. It’s funny. On the day we had the interview I ran in David Gould back in the airport, because he’d obviously had his interview. And we were talking and I said: “Oh, I didn’t think you were going for it.” And he said, yeah, I wasn’t, because I don’t really want to move to Sydney. And I said, well that was one of the other reasons I did put in for it, because if you didn’t get it I wanted to make sure someone who was passionate about the Gliders to get it. And there’s a couple on the list who may be passionate, but I wasn’t sure. I knew you were, because we’d talked about it at the under-23s. So we had a chat there and I said, if he gets it, he’d put me as an assistant and if I get it I’d put him as an assistant. Because we’d worked so well with the under-23s together as a unit. And we do. We work very well together. We think alike, we both like to play the game etc. So it turns out in June I got a phone call from Steve Nick at that stage and got offered the job with the Gliders. So I started on the first of July full time with the Gliders, but I still had the under-23s to get through to September, so we had a camp, our first camp in July with the Gliders. Went to a national league round in Sydney and then we bused them down to Canberra for a camp. And that was quite an interesting camp because there were a lot of tears, a lot of emotion. It was the first camp since London. It was eighteen months, nearly two years since London [editor’s note: about ten months] and nobody had really contacted them. They’ve been after a silver medal, left. Just left. They were waiting for someone to be appointed and no one had been in touch. And all that sort of stuff. So we went through a whole cleansing exercise there to try and understand what they were going through. And I felt for the girls at that stage. ‘Cause they put a lot of work into being the Gliders, and they do all the time. But they felt disconnected. So that was an emotional camp, but as I said to David at the time, we’ve got to build this program. Since then we’ve been working through. We did the under-23 worlds with the junior boys in September in Turkey. They earned third, a bronze medal. Could have potentially played for gold, but just couldn’t get it going in the semifinal. And then we came back to the Gliders and got ready for Bangkok. Bangkok was our first tour with the Gliders, which was a huge success. Because we got some confidence in the group, and that’s one of the things we’re working on is building their confidence and a belief in themselves. Being able to put things together when it really counts. So that was one of our goals. So Bangkok was our first tour, and I think we achieved a lot there. Got a good team bonding happening there. We’ve since then been to Osaka in February, which was another good outing for the girls. Five day experience with playing five games against the Japanese. That was good. Then in March we brought them here [Canada] for a tournament with the Netherlands, Canada and Japan, and then down to the United States for a four game series against the US. And again, that was a good learning experience. Then back home for a month and then we got to go to Europe, where we played in Frankfurt for the four games, and to Papendal with the Netherlands team. We played three games there before we came here.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So that’s a pretty detailed preparation.

Tom Kyle: Yeah, it’s been good. Pretty detailed. It’s been good though. We’re still growing as a group. We’re a lot stronger than we ever have been, I think, mentally. But we’re now starting to get to the real honesty phase, where we can tell each other what we need to tell each other to get the job done. That’s the breakthrough we’ve made in the last month. Whereas in the past I think we’ve been afraid to offend people with what we say. So now we’re just saying it and getting on with it. And we’re seeing some real wins in that space.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you!



Sources

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May 16, 2014

Canberra Capitals announce ownership change to University of Canberra

Canberra Capitals announce ownership change to University of Canberra

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  • 2 July 2015: Argentina defeats Paraguay 6-1 in Copa America 2015 semi-finals
  • 2 July 2015: Francesc Solé wins Andorra Ultra Trail again

File photo of Carrie Graf coaching the Capitals
Image: Bidgee.

University of Canberra sports scientist Ben Rattray explains a UCNISS.net research project. The University of Canberra has one of the top sports programs in Australia.
Image: Leighblackall.

File video of the Canberra Capitals players being introduced before a game
Image: Laura Hale.

Earlier today, the Australian women’s semi-professional basketball team Canberra Capitals announced a formal transfer of the club to University of Canberra. Prior to the transfer, the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) club was owned and operated by Basketball Australian Capital Territory (BACT).

The deal includes the WNBL operating license, and involves the team being renamed to the University of Canberra Capitals. The transfer still requires formal approval from Basketball Australia and the WNBL Commission. It does not include ownership of other BACT teams including the Capitals Academy SEABL team, the Canberra Gunners, and the Gunners Academy.

The Capitals have failed to qualify for the WNBL finals for the past three years, and current head coach and former national team coach Carrie Graf says the change will improve the team’s potential for success. She is quoted in a Basketball ACT press release saying, “The University is committed to supporting women in sport where often female athletes are unable to dedicate themselves to their sport in the same way as male athletes. The transfer will enable Capitals players to establish flexible working, living and studying arrangements through the University so that they are able to have a stronger focus on basketball while at the same time preparing for life after basketball.”

The Canberra Times reports the ownership change will make it easier for the team to recruit top young talent as the team will be able to provide food, housing, tuition, and a basketball salary. On the reported downside, University of Canberra chief executive Joe Roff has said the University will not be able to increase player salaries.

The University of Canberra is recognized as one of the best sports universities in Australia, has a sports studies department, and currently has a naming rights agreement with the Brumbies professional rugby union team in Canberra.



Sources

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January 3, 2014

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie

Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie

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Friday, January 3, 2014

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Preston, Victoria, Australia — On Saturday, Wikinews interviewed Tina McKenzie, a former member of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. McKenzie, a silver and bronze Paralympic medalist in wheelchair basketball, retired from the game after the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Wikinews caught up with her in a cafe in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Preston.

Tina McKenzie
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee.

Tina McKenzie: [The Spitfire Tournament in Canada] was a really good tournament actually. It was a tournament that I wish we’d actually gone back to more often.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Who plays in that one?

Tina McKenzie: It’s quite a large Canadian tournament, and so we went as the Gliders team. So we were trying to get as many international games as possible. ‘Cause that’s one of our problems really, to compete. It costs us so much money to for us to travel overseas and to compete internationally. And so we can compete against each other all the time within Australia but we really need to be able to…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s not the same.

Tina McKenzie: No, it’s really not, so it’s really important to be able to get as a many international trips throughout the year to continue our improvement. Also see where all the other teams are at as well. But yes, Spitfire was good. We took quite a few new girls over there back then in 2005, leading into the World Cup in the Netherlands.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Was that the one where you were the captain of the team, in 2005? Or was that a later one?

Tina McKenzie: No, I captained in 2010. So 2009, 2010 World Cup. And then I had a bit of some time off in 2011.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Gliders have never won the World Championship.

Tina McKenzie: We always seem to have just a little bit of a chill out at the World Cup. I don’t know why. It’s really strange occurrence, over the years. 2002 World Cup, we won bronze. Then in 2006 we ended up fourth. It was one of the worst World Cups we’ve played actually. And then in 2010 we just… I don’t know what happened. We just didn’t play as well as we thought we would. Came fourth. But you know what? Fired us up for the actual Paralympics. So the World Cup is… it’s good to be able to do well at the World Cup, to be placed, but it also means that you get a really good opportunity to know where you’re at in that two year gap between the Paralympics. So you can come back home and revisit what you need to do and, you know, where the team’s at. And all that sort of stuff.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Unfortunately, they are talking about moving it so it will be on the year before the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The competition from the [FIFA] World Cup and all.

Tina McKenzie: Right. Well, that would be sad.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But anyway, it is on next year, in June. In Toronto, and they are playing at the Maple Leaf Gardens?

Tina McKenzie: Okay. I don’t know where that is.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I don’t know either!

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png We’ll find it. The team in Bangkok was pretty similar. There’s two — yourself and Amanda Carter — who have retired. Katie Hill wasn’t selected, but they had Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy back, so there was ten old players and only two new ones.

Tina McKenzie: Which is a good thing for the team. The new ones would have been Georgia [Inglis] and?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Caitlin de Wit.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah… Shelley Cronau didn’t get in?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png No, she’s missed out again.

Tina McKenzie: Interesting.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That doesn’t mean that she won’t make the team…

Tina McKenzie: You never know.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You never know until they finally announce it.

Tina McKenzie: You never know what happens. Injuries happen leading into… all types of things and so… you never know what the selection is like.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They said to me that they expected a couple of people to get sick in Bangkok. And they did.

Tina McKenzie: It’s pretty usual, yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They sort of budgeted for three players each from the men’s and women’s teams to be sick.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really? And that worked out?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah. I sort of took to counting the Gliders like sheep so I knew “Okay, we’ve only go ten, so who’s missing?”

Tina McKenzie: I heard Shelley got sick.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png She was sick the whole time. And Caitlin and Georgia were a bit off as well.

Tina McKenzie: It’s tough if you haven’t been to Asian countries as well, competing and…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The change of diet affects some people.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah. I remember when we went to Korea and…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that?

Tina McKenzie: Korea would have been qualifiers in two thousand and… just before China, so that would have been…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png 2007 or 2008?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, 2007. Maybe late, no, it might have been early 2007. It was a qualifier for — Beijing, I think actually. Anyway, we went and played China, China and Japan. And it was a really tough tournament on some of our really new girls. They really struggled with the food. They struggled with the environment that we were in. It wasn’t a clean as what they normally exist in. A lot of them were very grumpy. (laughs) It’s really hard when you’re so used to being in such a routine, and you know what you want to eat, and you’re into a tournament and all of a sudden your stomach or your body can’t take the food and you’re just living off rice, and that’s not great for anyone.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah, well, the men are going to Seoul for their world championship, while the women go to Toronto. And of course the next Paralympics is in Rio.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I know.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It will be a very different climate and very different food.

Tina McKenzie: We all learn to adjust. I have over the years. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last thirteen years. Twelve years maybe. So you learn to actually take food with you. And you learn to adjust, knowing what environment you’re going in to, and what works for you. I have often carried around cans of red kidney beans. I know that I can put that in lettuce or in salad and get through with a bit of protein. And you know Sarah Stewart does a terrific job being a vegan, and managing the different areas and countries that we’ve been in to. Germany, for example, is highly dependent on the meat side of food, and I’m pretty sure I remember in Germany I lived on pasta and spaghetti. Tomato sauce. Yeah, that was it. (laughs) That’s alright. You just learn. I think its really hard for the new girls that come in to the team. It’s so overwhelming at the best of times anyway, and their nerves are really quite wracked I’d say, and that different travel environment is really hard. So I think the more experience they can get in traveling and playing internationally, the better off they’ll be for Rio.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png One of the things that struck me about the Australian team — I hadn’t seen the Gliders before London. It was an amazing experience seeing you guys come out on the court for the first time at the Marshmallow…

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It was probably all old hat to you guys. You’d been practicing for months. Certainly since Sydney in July.

Tina McKenzie: It was pretty amazing, yeah. I think it doesn’t really matter how many Paralympics you actually do, being able to come out on that court, wherever it is, it’s never dull. It’s always an amazing experience, and you feel quite honored, and really proud to be there and it still gives you a tingle in your stomach. It’s not like “oh, off I go. Bored of this.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Especially that last night there at the North Greenwich Arena. There were thirteen thousand people there. They opened up some extra parts of the stadium. I could not even see the top rows. They were in darkness.

Tina McKenzie: It’s an amazing sport to come and watch, and its an amazing sport to play. It’s a good spectator sport I think. People should come and see especially the girls playing. It’s quite tough. And I was talking to someone yesterday and it was like “Oh I don’t know how you play that! You know, it’s so rough. You must get so hurt.” It’s great! Excellent, you know? Brilliant game that teaches you lots of strategies. And you can actually take all those strategies off the court and into your life as well. So it teaches you a lot of discipline, a lot of structure and… it’s a big thing. It’s not just about being on the court and throwing a ball around.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When I saw you last you were in Sydney and you said you were moving down to Melbourne. Why was that?

Tina McKenzie: To move to Melbourne? My mum’s down here. And I lived here for sixteen years or something.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know you lived here for a long time, but you moved up to Sydney. Did your teacher’s degree up there.

Tina McKenzie: I moved to Sydney to go to uni, and Macquarie University were amazing in the support that they actually gave me. Being able to study and play basketball internationally, the scholarship really helped me out. And you know, it wasn’t just about the scholarship. It was.. Deidre Anderson was incredible. She’s actually from Melbourne as well, but her support emotionally and “How are you doing?” when she’d run into you and was always very good at reading people… where they’re at. She totally understands at the levels of playing at national level and international level and so it wasn’t just about Macquarie supporting me financially, it was about them supporting me the whole way through. And that was how I got through my degree, and was able to play at that level for such a long time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you like teaching?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I do. I’m still waiting on my transfer at the moment from New South Wales to Victoria, but teaching’s good. It’s really nice to be able to spend some time with kids and I think its really important for kids to be actually around people with disabilities to actually normalize us a little bit and not be so profound about meeting someone that looks a little bit different. And if I can do that at a young age in primary school and let them see that life’s pretty normal for me, then I think that’s a really important lesson.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You retired just after the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: I did. Yeah. Actually, it took me quite a long time to decide to do that. I actually traveled after London. So I backpacked around… I went to the USA and then to Europe. And I spent a lot of time traveling and seeing amazing new things, and spending time by myself, and reflecting on… So yes, I got to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on my career and where I wanted to go.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Your basketball career or your teaching career?

Tina McKenzie: All the above. Yeah. Everything realistically. And I think it was a really important time for me to sort of decide sort of where I wanted to go in myself. I’d spent sixteen years with the Gliders. So that’s a long time to be around the Gliders apparently.

Tina McKenzie (No. 8, at right) listens to the Australian national anthem prior to the match against the United States at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
Image: Laura Hale.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When did you join them for the first time?

Tina McKenzie: I think it was ’89? No, no, no, sorry, no, no, no, ’98. We’ll say 1998. Yeah, 1998 was my first tournament, against USA. So we played USA up in New South Wales in the Energy Australia tour. So we traveled the coast. Played up at Terrigal. It was a pretty amazing experience, being my first time playing for Australia and it was just a friendly competition so… Long time ago. And that was leading into 2000, into the big Sydney Olympics. That was the beginning of an amazing journey realistically. But going back to why I retired, or thinking about retiring, I think when I came home I decided to spend a little bit more time with mum. Cause we’d actually lost my dad. He passed away two years ago. He got really sick after I came back from World Cup, in 2011, late 2010, he was really unwell, so I spent a lot of time down here. I actually had a couple of months off from the Gliders because I needed to deal with the family. And I think that it was really good to be able to get back and get on the team and… I love playing basketball but after being away, and I’ve done three Paralympics, I’ve been up for four campaigns, I think its time now to actually take a step backwards and… Well not backwards… take a step out of it and spend quality time with mum and quality time with people that have supported me throughout the years of me not being around home but floating back in and floating out again and its a really… it’s a nice time for me to be able to also take on my teaching career and trying to teach and train and work full time is really hard work and I think its also time for quite a few of the new girls to actually step up and we’ve got quite a few… You’ve got Caitlin, and you’ve got Katie and you’ve got Shelley and Georgia. There’s quite a few nice girls coming through that will fit really well into the team and it’s a great opportunity for me to go. It’s my time now. See where they go with that, and retire from the Gliders. It was a hard decision. Not an easy decision to retire. I definitely miss it. But I think now I’d rather focus on maybe helping out at the foundation level of starting recruitment and building up a recruiting side in Melbourne and getting new girls to come along and play basketball. People with… doesn’t even have to be girls but just trying to re-feed our foundation level of basketball, and if I can do that now I think that’s still giving towards the Gliders and Rollers eventually. That would be really nice. Just about re-focusing. I don’t want to completely leave basketball. I’d still like to be part of it. Looking to the development side of things and maybe have a little bit more input in that area would be really nice though. Give back the skills I’ve been taught over the years and be a bit of an educator in that area I think would be nice. It’s really hard when you’re at that international level to… you’re so time poor that it’s really hard to be able to focus on all that recruitment and be able to give out skill days when you’re actually trying to focus on improving yourself. So now I’ve got that time that I could actually do that. Be a little bit more involved in mentoring maybe, something like that. Yeah, that’s what I’d like to do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That would be good.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah! That would be great, actually. So I’ve just been put on the board of Disability Sport and Recreation, which is the old Wheelchair Sports Victoria. So that’s been a nice beginning move. Seeing where all the sports are at, and what we’re actually facilitating in Victoria, considering I’ve been away from Victoria for so long. It’s nice to know where they’re all at.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where are they all at?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, dunno. They’re not very far at all. Victoria… I think Victoria is really struggling in the basketball world. Yeah, I think there’s a bit of a struggle. Back in the day… back in those old times, where Victoria would be running local comps. We’d have an A grade and a B grade on a Thursday night, and we’d have twelve teams in A grade and B grade playing wheelchair basketball. That’s a huge amount of people playing and when you started in B grade you’d be hoping that you came around and someone from A grade would ask you to come and play. So it was a really nice way to build your basketball skills up and get to know that community. And I think its really important to have a community, people that you actually feel comfortable and safe around. I don’t want to say it’s a community of disabled people. It’s actually…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s not really because…

Tina McKenzie: Well, it’s not. The community’s massive. It’s not just someone being in a chair. You’ve got your referees, you’ve got people that are coming along to support you. And it’s a beautiful community. I always remember Liesl calling it a family, and it’s like a family so… and it’s not just Australia-based. It’s international. It’s quite incredible. It’s really lovely. But it’s about providing that community for new players to come through. And you know, not every player that comes through to play basketball wants to be a Paralympian. So its about actually providing sport, opportunities for people to be physically active. And if they do want to compete for Australia and they’re good enough, well then we support that. But I think it’s really hard in the female side of things. There’s not as many females with a disability.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah, they kept on pointing that out…

Tina McKenzie: It’s really hard, but I think one of the other things is that we also need to be able to get the sport out there into the general community. And it’s not just about having a disability, it’s about coming along and playing with your mate that might be classifiable or an ex-basketball player. Like I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she’s six foot two…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Sounds like a basketball player already.

Tina McKenzie: She’s been a basketball player, an AB basketball player for years. Grew up playing over in Adelaide, and her knee is so bad that she can’t run anymore, and she can’t cycle, but yet wants to be physically active, and I’m like “Oooh, you can come along and play wheelchair basketball” and she’s like “I didn’t even think that I could do that!” So it’s about promoting. It not that you actually have to be full time in the chair, or being someone with an amputation or other congenitals like a spinal disability, it’s wear and tear on people’s bodies and such.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Something I noticed in the crowd in London. People seemed to think that they were in the chair all the time and were surprised when most of the Rollers got up out of their chairs at the end of the game.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Disability is a very complicated thing.

Tina McKenzie: It is, yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I was surprised myself at people who were always in a chair, but yet can wiggle their toes.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s the preconceived thing, like if you see someone in a chair, a lot of people just think that nothing works, but in hindsight there are so many varying levels of disability. Some people don’t need to be in a chair all the time, sometimes they need to be in it occasionally. Yeah, it’s kind of a hard thing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Also talking to the classifiers and they mentioned the people playing [wheelchair] basketball who have no disability at all but are important to the different teams, that carry their bags and stuff.

Tina McKenzie: So important, yeah. It’s the support network and I think that when we started developing Women’s National League to start in 2000, one of the models that we took that off was the Canadian Women’s National League. They run an amazing national league with huge amounts of able bodied women coming in and playing it, and they travel all over Canada [playing] against each other and they do have a round robin in certain areas like our Women’s National League as well but it’s so popular over there that it’s hard to get on the team. They have a certain amount of women with disabilities and then other able bodied women that just want to come along and play because they see it as a really great sport. And that’s how we tried to model our Women’s National League off. It’s about getting many women just to play sport, realistically.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Getting women to play sport, whether disabled or not, is another story. And there seems to be a reluctance amongst women to participate in sports, particularly sports that they regard as being men’s sports.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, a masculine sport.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They would much rather play a sport that is a women’s sport.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s really hard. I think it’s about just encouraging people, communicating, having a really nice welcoming, come and try day. We run a… like Sarah [Stewart] actually this yeah will be running the women’s festival of sport, which is on the 30th of January. And that’s an amazing tournament. That actually started from club championship days, where we used to run club championships. And then the club championships then used to feed in to our Women’s National League. Club championships used to about getting as many women to come along and play whether they’re AB or have a disability. It’s just about participation. It’ll be a really fun weekend. And it’s a pretty easy weekend for some of us.

Tina McKenzie (No. 8, at right) on the court in the quarter final against Mexico
Image: Laura Hale.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where is it?

Tina McKenzie: Next year, in 2014, it’ll be January the 30th at Narrabeen. We hold it every year. And last year we got the goalball girls to come along and play. So we had half of the goalball girls come and play for the weekend and they had an absolute brilliant time. Finding young girls that are walking down the street that just want to come and play sport. Or they have a friend at high school that has a disability. And it’s just about having a nice weekend, meeting other people that have disabilities or not have disabilities and just playing together. It’s a brilliant weekend. And every year we always have new faces come along and we hope that those new faces stay around and enjoy the weekend. Because it’s no so highly competitive, it’s just about just playing. Like last year I brought three or four friends of mine, flew up from Melbourne, ABs, just to come along and play. It was really nice that I had the opportunity to play a game of basketball with the friends that I hang out with. Which was really nice. So the sport’s not just Paralympics.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How does Victoria compare with New South Wales?

Tina McKenzie: Oh, that’s a thing to ask! (laughs) Look I think both states go in highs and lows, in different things. I think all the policies that have been changing in who’s supporting who and… like, Wheelchair Sports New South Wales do a good job at supporting the basketball community. Of course, there’s always a willingness for more money to come in but they run a fairly good support and so does the New South Wales Institute of Sport. It’s definitely gotten better since I first started up there. And then, it’s really hard to compare because both states do things very differently. Yeah, really differently and I always remember being in Victoria… I dunno when that was… in early 2000. New South Wales had an amazing program. It seemed so much more supportive than what we had down here in Victoria. But then even going to New South Wales and seeing the program that they have up there, it wasn’t as brilliant as… the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, cause there there good things and there were weren’t so great things about the both programs in Victoria and in New South Wales so… The VIS [Victorian Institute of Sport] do some great support with some of the athletes down here, and NSWIS [New South Wales Instituted of Sport] are building and improving and I know their program’s changed quite a lot now with Tom [Kyle] and Ben [Osborne] being involved with NSWIS so I can’t really give feedback on how that program’s running but in short I know that when NSWIS employed Ben Osborne to come along and actually coach us as a basketball individual and as in group sessions it was the best thing that they ever did. Like, it was so good to be able to have one coach to actually go and go we do an individual session or when are you running group sessions and it just helped me. It helped you train. It was just a really… it was beneficial. Whereas Victoria don’t have that at the moment. So both states struggle some days. I mean, back in 2000 Victoria had six or seven Gliders players, and then New South Wales had as many, and then it kind of does a big swap. It depends on what the state infrastructure is, what the support network is, and how local comps are running, how the national league’s running, and it’s about numbers. It’s all about numbers.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png At the moment you’ll notice a large contingent of Gliders from Western Australia.

Tina McKenzie: Yes, yes, I have seen that, yeah. And that’s good because its… what happens is, someone comes along in either state, or wherever it may be, and they’re hugely passionate about building and improving that side of things and they have the time to give to it, and that’s what’s happened in WA [Western Australia]. Which has been great. Ben Ettridge has been amazing, and so has John. And then in New South Wales you have Gerry driving that years ago. Gerry has always been a hugely passionate man about improving numbers, about participation, and individuals’ improvement, you know? So he’s been quite a passionate man about making sure people are improving individually. And you know, Gerry Hewson’s been quite a driver of wheelchair basketball in New South Wales. He’s been an important factor, I think.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The news recently has been Basketball Australia taking over the running of things. The Gliders now have a full time coach.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, which is fantastic! That’s exciting. It’s a good professional move, you know? It’s nice to actually know that that’s what’s happening and I think that only will lead to improvement of all the girls, and the Gliders may go from one level up to the next level which is fantastic so… and Tom sounds like a great man so I really hope that he enjoys himself.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’m sure he is.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I’ve done some work with Tom. He’s a good guy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you do some work with him?

Tina McKenzie: Ah, well, no, I just went up to Brisbane a couple of times and did some development days. Played in one of their Australia Day tournaments with some of the developing girls that they have. We did a day camp leading into that. Went and did a bit of mentoring I guess. And it was nice to do that with Tom. That was a long time before Tom… I guess Tom had just started on the men’s team back them. He was very passionate about improving everyone, which he still is.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Watching the Gliders and the Rollers… with the Rollers, they can do it. With the Gliders… much more drama from the Gliders in London. For a time we didn’t even know if they were going to make the finals. Lost that game against Canada.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, that wasn’t a great game. No. It was pretty scary. But, you know, we always fight back. In true Gliders style. Seems to be… we don’t like to take the easy road, we like to take the hard road, sometimes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Apparently.

Tina McKenzie: It’s been a well-known thing. I don’t know why it is but it just seems to happen that way.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You said you played over 100 [international] games. By our count there was 176 before you went to London, plus two games there makes 178 international caps. Which is more than some teams that you played against put together.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I thought I’d be up to nearly 200. Look, I think it’s an amazing thing to have that many games under your belt and the experience that’s gained me throughout the years, and you’ve got to be proud about it. Proud that I stayed in there and competed with one of the best teams in the world. I always believed that the Gliders can be the best in the world but…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You need to prove it.

Tina McKenzie: Need to get there. Just a bit extra.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Before every game in London there was an announcement that at the World Championships and the Paralympics “they have never won”.

Tina McKenzie: No, no. I remember 2000 in Sydney, watching the girls play against Canada in 2000. Terrible game. Yet they were a brilliant team in 2000 as well. I think the Gliders have always had a great team. Just unfortunately, that last final game. We haven’t been able to get over that line yet.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You were in the final game in 2004.

Tina McKenzie: Yep, never forget that. It was an amazing game.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What was it like?

Tina McKenzie: I think we played our gold medal game against the USA the first game up. We knew that we had to beat USA that day, that morning. It was 8am in the morning, maybe 8:30 in the morning and it was one of the earliest games that we played and we’d been preparing for this game knowing that we had to beat USA to make sure that our crossovers would be okay, and knew that we’d sit in a really good position against the rest of the teams that we would most likely play. And I think that being my first ever Paralympic Games it was unforgettable. I think I’ll never, not forget it. The anticipation, adrenalin and excitement. And also being a little bit scared sometimes. It was really an amazing game. We did play really, really well. We beat America by maybe one point I think that day. So we played a tough, tough game. Then we went into the gold medal game… I just don’t think we had much left in our energy fuel. I think it was sort of… we knew that we had to get there but we just didn’t have enough to get over the line, and that was really unfortunate. And it was really sad. It was sad that we knew that we could actually beat America, but at the end of the day the best team wins.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The best team on the court on the day.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely. And that can change any day. It depends where your team’s at. What the ethos is like. and so it’s… Yeah, I don’t think you can actually say that every team’s gonna be on top every day, and it’s not always going to be that way. I’m hoping the Gliders will put it all together and be able to take that way through and get that little gold medal. That would be really nice. Love to see that happen.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’d like to see that happen. I’d really like to see them win. In Toronto, apparently, because the Canadian men are not in the thing, the Canadians are going to be focusing on their women’s team. They apparently didn’t take their best team and their men were knocked out by Columbia or Mexico or something like that.

Tina McKenzie: Wow.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And in the women’s competition there’s teams like Peru. But I remember in London that Gliders were wrong-footed by Brazil, a team that they had never faced before. Nearly lost that game.

Tina McKenzie: (laughs) Oh yes. Brazil were an unknown factor to us. So they were quite unknown. We’d done a bit of scouting but if you’ve never played someone before you get into an unknown situation. We knew that they’d be quite similar players to Mexico but you know what? Brazil had a great game. They had a brilliant game. We didn’t have a very good game at all. And it’s really hard going into a game that you know that you need to win unbeknown to what all these players can do. You can scout them as much as you want but it’s actually about being on court and playing them. That makes a huge difference. I think one of the things here in Australia is that we play each other so often. We play against each other so often in the Women’s National League. We know exactly what… I know that Shelley Chaplin is going to want to go right and close it up and Cobi Crispin is going to dive underneath the key and do a spin and get the ball. So you’ve actually… you know what these players want to do. I know that Kylie Gauci likes to double screen somewhere, and she’ll put it in, and its great to have that knowledge of what your players really like to do when you’re playing with them but going into a team like Brazil we knew a couple of the players, what they like to do but we had no idea what their speed was like or what their one-pointers were going to do. Who knows? So it was a bit of an unknown.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They’ll definitely be an interesting side when it comes to Rio.

Tina McKenzie: I think they’ll be quite good. And that happened with China. I’ll always remember seeing China when we were in Korea for the first time and going “Wow, these girls can hardly move a chair” but some of them could shoot, and they went from being very fresh players to going into China as quite a substantial team, and then yet again step it up again in London. And they’re a good team. I think its really important as not to underestimate any team at a Paralympics or at a World Cup. I mean, Netherlands have done that to us over and over again.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They’re a tough team too.

Tina McKenzie: They’re a really tough team and they’re really unpredictable sometimes. Sometimes when they’re on, they’re on. They’re tough. They’re really tough. And they’ve got a little bit of hunger in them now. Like, they’re really hungry to be the top team. And you can see that. And I remember seeing that in Germany, in Beijing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Germans lost to the Americans in the final in Beijing.

Tina McKenzie: Yes. Yeah, they did.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And between 2008 and 2012 all they talked about was the US, and a rematch against the US. But of course when it came to London, they didn’t face the US at all, because you guys knocked the US out of the competition.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, we did. It was great. A great game that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You won by a point.

Tina McKenzie: Fantastic. Oh my God I came. Still gives me heart palpitations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It went down to a final shot. There was a chance that the Americans would win the thing with a shot after the siren. Well, a buzzer-beater.

Tina McKenzie: Tough game. Tough game. That’s why you go to the Paralympics. You have those tough, nail-biting games. You hope that at the end of the day that… Well, you always go in as a player knowing that you’ve done whatever you can do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thankyou very much for this.

Tina McKenzie: That’s alright. No problems at all!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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November 30, 2013

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Caitlin de Wit

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Caitlin de Wit

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

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Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok — Wikinews interviewed Caitlin de Wit, of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. The Gliders are in Bangkok, Thailand, for the Asia–Oceania Zone Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which are being held at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center. Wikinews caught up with her on Tuesday, before the Gliders’ match against China.

Georgia Inglis at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok, during the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships
Image: Hawkeye7.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Where were you born?

Caitlin de Wit: In Cape Town in South Africa.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When did you come to Australia?

Caitlin de Wit: When I was six.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And then you moved to whereabouts?

Caitlin de Wit: And I grew up on the Central Coast.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A I believe you had a horse riding accident?

Caitlin de Wit: I had a horse riding accident in Wagga.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What sort of horse riding were you doing?

Caitlin de Wit: I was just riding with friends. We were just like out on a ride.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you fell off.

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you were at uni[versity] at the time?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, I was at uni in Wagga and that’s where I had my accident. And I went obviously to hospital for a little while and rehab and then I moved back to Wagga to finish my degree.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What was the degree in?

Caitlin de Wit: Equine studies. Horses.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you played sport before then?

Caitlin de Wit: I ran a little bit, and I rode horses. They were my sports. And then in my first year of uni I started soccer. That was my first team sport that I played.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So what made you take up basketball?

Caitlin de Wit: I suppose when I lefty hospital I was a bit bored. I wanted something to do. Keep me fit and occupied. So.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So which team did you join?

Caitlin de Wit: I just joined the local Wagga team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png There’s a local Wagga team?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, there was. I don’t know if its still there. And then I joined… and then Sarah Stewart saw me at a juniors’ camp. And I joined what was then the Hills Hornets in the women’s league.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you played with the Hills Hornets.

Caitlin de Wit: mmm hmm

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And when was that?

Caitlin de Wit: My first season was 2007.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did they win the championships that year?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They won for a series of years straight…

Caitlin de Wit: They won straight up until 2011. We had one win as the Flames.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you joined the junior Australian women’s team?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, the under 25s.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And where did you go with them?

Caitlin de Wit: We went to Canada for the under 25 World Championships.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that?

Caitlin de Wit: 2011.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you’re still playing with the Flames in Sydney. And you played for the Gliders at the Osaka Cup?

Caitlin de Wit: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And that was in January this year?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah. February maybe? January-February?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And that was your first trip overseas with the senior side

Caitlin de Wit: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And now this is therefore your second trip with the Gliders?

Caitlin de Wit: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Been overseas much before then?

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah. Been overseas a little bit. Not with basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Being from South Africa.

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah. My family traveled a little bit as a kid, so… yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you played anywhere overseas with any other teams?

Caitlin de Wit: No.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So how are you enjoying it here in Bangkok?

Caitlin de Wit: Good. It’s been a really great experience.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I keep worrying about whether they are going to blockade the airport when we need to get out of here.

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah, it should be fine.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay, so enjoy it!

Caitlin de Wit: Yeah!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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November 28, 2013

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Georgia Inglis

Wikinews Interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Georgia Inglis

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok — Wikinews interviewed Georgia Inglis, of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. The Gliders are in Bangkok, Thailand, for the Asia-Oceania Zone Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which are being held at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center.

They are hoping to qualify for the World Championships, which are being held in Toronto, Canada, in June next year. Inglis is one of two new players in the team. Wikinews caught up with her before the Gliders’ match against China.

Georgia Inglis at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, Bangkok, during the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships
Image: Hawkeye7.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Where were you born?

Georgia Inglis: In Perth.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Perth!

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png According to the [draft Wikipedia] article, it says that you had an accident involving a ride-on lawn mower?

Georgia Inglis: Yep. That’s true.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Really? What happened?

Georgia Inglis: The boy just didn’t see me, so he ran over.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And how old were you?

Georgia Inglis: I was ten.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It says also that you were a tennis player and a swimmer.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which sports did you get involved in? You were playing sports before your accident?

Georgia Inglis: I did tennis before my accident, and I did tennis after my accident and I did swimming after my accident.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And it says that you were a really good tennis player and swimmer.

Georgia Inglis: Um, no, not that good. I was a little bit competitive, but that’s about it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So what made you take up basketball?

Georgia Inglis: I just enjoyed the team sport more. Yes, enjoyed it a lot more.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So when did you start playing?

Georgia Inglis: Three or four years ago, I think it was.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A you joined the local team there?

Georgia Inglis: The juniors, yeah. Then I trained with the Western Stars. And I got on the team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that, about 2010 or 2011?

Georgia Inglis: The first Kevin King cup. Whenever that was.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’ll find out

Georgia Inglis: It was in Sydney.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve been playing with them for three or four years.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you were selected for the Osaka Cup earlier this year.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which was your first overseas trip with the Gliders.

Georgia Inglis: With the Gliders, yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve been overseas with the under 23?

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where’d you go?

Georgia Inglis: Canada! Toronto.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay!

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I saw you play in the [WNWBL] games. You were particularly impressive in that final.

Georgia Inglis: The Grand Final?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Grand Final. You guys won.

Georgia Inglis: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You were really good.

Georgia Inglis: Oh, thank you.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And so you were at a couple of training camps, and then you were selected for this.

Georgia Inglis: Yep.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And so how has it been?

Georgia Inglis: Yeah, it’s been really good. I loved it. Really good. Really enjoyed it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And Bangkok? What do you think about it?

Georgia Inglis: It’s an interesting place.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Bit different?

Georgia Inglis: Very different to Australia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you been overseas only to Toronto, or have you been elsewhere?

Georgia Inglis: No, I went to Italy and trained over there for three months.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When was that?

Georgia Inglis: Last year. And I played for… well I didn’t really play, but I trained with a team in Sardinia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you were part of the team?

Georgia Inglis: Yeah, but I didn’t really play, just trained.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Some other players have…

Georgia Inglis: Yeah, Luke Pople and Alan Deans. We all went over there.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Anything else you’d like to say?

Georgia Inglis: Can’t really think of anything.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay! No worries! Thank you!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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September 10, 2013

Western Stars win Women\’s National Wheelchair Basketball League championship in a thriller

Western Stars win Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League championship in a thriller

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre, Sydney — Wikinews attended the finals of the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League at the Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre over the weekend. The Be Active Western Stars won the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League championship 40–43 in a low-scoring game on Sunday night against the Sachs Goudcamp Bears characterised by relentless defence by both sides.

Western Stars women’s wheelchair basketball team. Players are, left to right: Sarah Vinci, Clare Nott, Georgia Inglis, Amanda Nott, Mandy Bonavita, Amber Merritt, Natalie Alexander
Image: Hawkeye7.

Amber Merritt attempts (unsuccessfully) to steal the net after winning the Western Stars won the 2013 WNWBL championships.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Victoria women’s wheelchair basketball team. Left to right: Melanie Domaschenz, Brett Paxton (coach), Alice Hammond, Shelley Chaplin, Ellie Cole, Lynne Panayiotis, Leanne Del Toso
Image: Hawkeye7.

The Stars fought their way back from being nine points down at three quarter time to take the lead with only minutes to go, thanks to a spectacular shot by Georgia Inglis. The match saw Amber Merritt and Kylie Gauci engage in a protracted duel. At one point Merritt suffered a bone-crunching sideways fall that the crowd feared meant she had injured her shoulder, but Merritt got back up again.

Gauci was fouled out in the last minutes, and Merritt used her free throws to put the Stars three points up. Japanese import Mari Amimoto attempted to tie the game with a three pointer, but missed.

Merritt has suffered injury this season. She showed Wikinews a long scar along the right forearm. Surgeons had corrected where she had torn the muscle away from the bone.

The Bears won their place in the final by beating Victoria in the Qualifying Final on Friday night 40–62. The Stars had to defeat the Sydney Uni Flames 66–34 on Friday night and then Victoria 32–48 on Saturday night to earn their place in the final. Victoria defeated the Sydney Uni Flames 59–42 to claim the bronze medals.

After the games there were the presentations. The Western Stars’ Clare Nott was named 1 point player MVP, Kylie Gauci was 2 point player MVP, Sarah Stewart from the Sydney Uni Flames was 3 point player MVP and Merritt was 4 point player MVP. These four players, along with Cobi Crispin from Victoria form the All Star Five for 2013. Victoria’s Ellie Cole, who won four gold medals in swimming at the London Paralympics, was named Best New Talent. Nonetheless, Cole told Wikinews that she was not giving up swimming to become a basketball player.

Despite her injury, Merritt was the league’s high scorer for the season. Mari Amimoto was named the MVP of the finals series, but Gauci was season MVP.

Liesl Tesch made a special presentation to Lisa Edmonds, a pioneer of the women’s game who has been playing wheelchair basketball for 24 years. Lisa was part of the original Australian Women’s basketball team back in 1989, and played in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Paralympics.

This was the last season to be administered by Disabilty Sports Australia. Starting next season, the league will be administered by Basketball Australia



Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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February 2, 2013

Canberra Capitals extinguish the Fire, 76–68

Canberra Capitals extinguish the Fire, 76–68

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Capitals starting line up. Left to right: Hunt (obscured), Ardossi (No. 35), Wilson (in pink socks), Bibby (in long white socks). Team mascot Cap Man can be seen in the background with the umpires.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Casey Samuels stepped up into a starring role.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Sam Norwood played a key defensive role.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Tessa Lavey is all smiles after the game.
Image: Hawkeye7.

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Canberra, Australia — Last night the Canberra Capitals women’s basketball team defeated Townsville Fire 76–68 in a bruising encounter at the AIS Arena.

A small crowd of about 700 was on hand to watch the Capitals play. The Capitals had only won one of their last twelve games — though Canberra and Townsville have been the only teams to defeat Bendigo Spirit, the top side in the competition. The normally upbeat program guide advised that “a Capitals win tonight is not out of the question”.

Nicole Hunt, Jessica Bibby, Brigitte Ardossi, Michelle Cosier and Carly Wilson formed the starting line up. Ardossi returned after not playing last week due to a concussion. Mikaela Dombkins, who also did not play last week, was missing entirely this week, but Lauren Jackson was still on hand, mainly to sign autographs.

Ardossi took a hard knock in the first minutes of the game. She went off, replaced by Samantha Norwood, but would soon return to the court. Several minutes passed without either side scoring. Wilson attempted, but missed, a three pointer, and Bibby had a shot that hit the ring. After a series of turnovers, the Fire put the first score on the board. Canberra’s response came from Norwood, who drew a foul and scored a point from a free throw.

The score went to 3–4 after Hunt scored a basket. She then took a rebound to return possession to Canberra. Bibby made a second attempt at a long shot, which missed, but Wilson scored. A few minutes later, Bibby tried another three point shot and again failed, but on the next play assisted Ardossi in tying the score at 9–9. By quarter time the Capitals were down 12–17.

The five starters took to the court again in the second quarter. The Fire scored first. Ardossi attempted a long shot, which failed, but a turnover saw Cosier score, assisted by Hunt. A penalty gave the Capitals possession again soon after, and Alexandra Bunton scored with one second left on the shot clock.

Wilson, substituting for Hunt as point guard, ran over the line with the ball. However, she lifted over the next few minutes, making a three pointer to take the score to 24–29, and then running past the opposition to take another great shot which sailed through the basket without touching the hoop to make it 26–29.

The rest of the side now suddenly also found something extra. Hunt and Norwood teamed up to grab a quick score from a turnover, and Ardossi took a rebound at one end of the court and scored at the other. Another rebound from Ardossi saw Hunt score as the crowd counted down with the shot clock, to give the Capitals, who had been six points down a few minutes before, a four point lead 33–29. But in the last minutes of the half, the Fire scored twice more, and Bibby missed once more, so the scores were tied at half time, 33–33.

After a half time cheerleading demonstration by the Canberra Sirens Cheerleaders, Hunt, Wilson, Norwood, Cosier and Argossi started in the third quarter. Argossi posted the first score, making it 35–33. A couple of rebounds by Cosier saw Ardossi take two more from the free throw line. The Fire then fought back to 37–36. The game still refused to fall into the usual to-and-from characteristic of basketball. Bibby missed a shot, Ardossi fell over dramatically, Hunt took the rebound, Wilson tried to get a long shot, and finally Bunton managed to score.

A stumble by Hunt saw a Fire player attempting a lone run at the basket, only to be stopped by Wilson. Two Fire free throws later, the score was 39–38. Hunt took a long shot to make it 41–38, Bibby missed another one, and then Hunt got one single handed, bringing it to 43–41, of which Hunt had scored nine. Bibby, who had still not scored, was knocked down in a bone crunching collision with an opponent. It took some time before her Capitals team mates helped her up. The Fire player was not so lucky, and remained on the floor for several minutes. Bibby was replaced by Casey Samuels. Two baskets by the Fire tied the score again, but Hunt scored twice more before the three quarter time siren, making it 49–45.

Hunt scored first for her side in the final quarter, bring the score to 51–47, of which she was responsible for 15. The Fire posted one in response, but a defensive error let Wilson stand on the free throw line and take an uncontested shot. Alice Coddington scored a three pointer, Samuels a two pointer, and Cosier another three pointer. The scoreboard now read 61–52. A second three pointer by Cosier soon made it 64–52.

Following a controversial decision involving Ardossi for which the umpire was loudly booed, the Fire fought back to 66–62, but Hunt and Ardossi each scored to hold them at bay. There then followed a few minutes of farce as the game was halted due to a problem with the shot clock. Once this was fixed, played resumed, with Ardossi and Hunt competing for the highest score.

The scoreboard read 76–68 at the final siren, leaving the Capitals with a hard-earned if unexpected win. The highest scorer was Hunt, with 21 points, closely followed by Ardossi with 20, Cosier with 10, and Wilson with 9. Samuels had 6, Norwood had 5, Coddington had 3 from a single shot, and Bunton had 2 from a shot in the third quarter. Bibby was left scoreless.

The Capitals now have games at Bendigo and Bulleen, before their final match of the year at the AIS Arena on February 15.



Sources

  • Women’s National Basketball League. “Full Schedule” — SportingPulse, February 2, 2013 (date of access)
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September 29, 2012

Canberra Capitals beat Chinese women\’s national B basketball team in pre-season

Canberra Capitals beat Chinese women’s national B basketball team in pre-season

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory —

Michelle Cosier goes for the ball
Image: Laura Hale.

Wednesday night, the Canberra Capitals defeated the Chinese women’s national B basketball team 75–64 at the Belconnen Basketball Centre in a pre-season warm up game before the start of the Women’s National Basketball League in October.

Several new players joined the Capitals this season, including Samantha Norwood, Valeria Ogoke, and Tessa Lavey, while Natalie Porter, Carly Wilson, and Marianna Tolo are not with the team this season.

Playing before a packed crowd, the game started with both teams’ national anthems played, followed by the Capitals giving their guests mini-basketballs. Canberra started with Nicole Hunt, Jessica Bibby, Samantha Norwood, Ogoke, and Michelle Cosier on the floor. China’s starting lineup included Liang Jiamei, Ma Xueya, Cui Xiaoxue, Huang Hongpin, and Shen Yi.

The Capitals led early in the first with a score of 6–2 and then 6–4, before Jiamei made a three pointer to put China ahead 6–7 by the time there was 6:33 left in the first. Both teams made a number of substitutions in the first quarter and tried to shoot 3-point shots that they did not land. The Capitals could not keep their hands on the ball, turning it over several times in the first. Playing a zone defense, the Chinese team appeared to have better control on their side of the court when playing zone defense on that side of the court, while the Chinese offense frustrated the Capitals who were playing man-to-man and appeared to lose the woman they were marking. The Chinese were also quick to foul, allowing Canberra to go into bonus. The quarter ended 13–19 thanks to a last minute shot by Hunt.

The second quarter started with a Canberra possession, where they turned over the ball to China before they were able to get a shot up. Ogoke managed to steal the ball back before China could capitalize on the turnover. The Chinese bench started making noise on the bench, cheering and chanting to support their teammates on the court. The Capitals coach, Carrie Graf, was very animated on the sidelines. Chinese fouls sent Canberra to the line several times, with Norwood scoring a pair with 1:41 left in the half. Dombkins made a pair of baskets in the remaining time to bring the score to within two by end of the quarter.

At the end of the first half, with the score 31–33 in favour of China, Norwood led the Capitals in scoring with 11 points and was the only team member in double digits. Mikaela Dombkins and Hunt both had 6 points, with six total Capitals players having gotten points on the board. On the Chinese side, Sun Mengran led her team in scoring with 12 points. Jiamei was second with 5 points, and seven other players also scored.

Contrasting half time styles saw the Capitals go into the locker room, while China stayed on the court and practice shooting baskets. When the second half got under way, Ogoke scored for Canberra to tie up the game. China scored to go up again, but Cosier then drew a foul, went to the line and made a pair of baskets to tie the game again. Ogoke scored again and the Capitals went ahead by two. Bibby quickly added to the lead with another 2 points. Following a Chinese time out, China took advantage of a free throw opportunity to narrow the score to 39–37. Canberra fell apart a bit, with Cosier turning over the ball and Bibby missing a pass because she was out of position. Thee Capitals were not marking players, leaving the Chinese shooters open, but they could not get the ball in the net. A 3-point shot by China had them ahead by one. With 5:27 left in the third, Canberra was leading by three. By the time there was 1:18 left, Canberra led by 53–46 with China in foul trouble and the Capitals sitting there with four. Four seconds later, Bibby drew a foul and was all smiles before going to the line. Once there, she put her game face on and scored a pair of free throws to put the Capitals up by 9. With 50.6 seconds left in the third, Cheng Feng fouled out and sent Bibby to the line again, where Bibby scored another pair of three throws. Graf was yelling at her team to push down the court, and Hunt did, scoring 2 points to put her team ahead by 13. With 5 seconds left in the quarter, the Capitals turn the ball over and the quarter ends 59–46.

Hunt, Bibby, Norwood, Ogoke and Cosier started the fourth for Canberra, while Ma Xueya, Sun Mengran, Jiamei, Shen Yi and Huang Hongpin started for China. China continued to play zone defense in this quarter and their bench continued to support their on court players. With the Caps ahead 61–50, Graf yelled at Hunt to shoot, and Hunt did, making a 3-point shot. Later in the quarter, Hunt shot an airball and Brigitte Ardossi did a good job keeping in play, getting the ball back to Hunt who failed to score on the next shot. Hunt would finish the half 2 of 4 from 2 point range. With 4:52 left in the game, China took a time out. On the bench, Xueya had her fingers buddy taped, despite not starting the game with her fingers that way. Following the time out, Graf had to yell at Bibby several times. On the next opportunity to bring subs in, Bibby was subbed out of the game. China kept trying to score 3 points but was unable to capitalise. By the time there was 2:09 left in the game, Hunt was trying to slow play down. When Hunt was subbed out, the game sped up again. With 24 seconds left, China scored a 3 pointer to bring the score to 75–64 where the score remained unchanged in the remaining time.

The game ended with Jessica Bibby leading in scoring for her team with 16 total points, 1 point ahead of Norwood who had 15 and 2 points ahead of Hunt who had 14. 6 of Bibby’s points came from a pair of 3-point shots in the second half. The only other player for her team to score a 3 pointer was Hunt. Only Tessa Lavey, who played only 2 minutes and 12 seconds and the returning Alice Coddington who played 13 minutes and 56 seconds failed to score for the Capitals. Dombkins led her team in rebounding with 8, while newcomer Ogoke had 7.

The Canberra Capitals regular season starts on October 5, with first home game to be played on October 20, which will be Lauren Jackson‘s first game with the team.


Sources

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September 8, 2012

Gliders defeat USA in 2012 Paralympic semifinals

Gliders defeat USA in 2012 Paralympic semifinals

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

2012 Summer Paralympics

Trafalgar Square, London - London 2012 - countdown clock.jpg

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Gliders use defensive tactics to slow the USA down
Image: Laura Hale.

Australian supporters in the crowd wearing yellow Gliders T-shirts
Image: Laura Hale.

Merritt during a time out
Image: Laura Hale.

Gliders link arms for the national anthem
Image: Laura Hale.

Oops! An American goes down.
Image: Laura Hale.

Team USA have nice warm-up outfits
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England — The Australian women’s national wheelchair basketball team, the Gliders, defeated the USA Thursday in a 40–39 thriller at the North Greenwich Arena.

This semifinal victory advances the Gliders into the final, where they are to meet the winner of the day’s match between the Netherlands and Germany. They are guaranteed at least silver. The Gliders won silver in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004 and bronze in Beijing in 2008, but have never won the gold. The USA team is to meet the loser of that match to contest the bronze.

The Gliders’ quest for Paralympic gold medals began last week with a narrow 52–50 defeat of Brazil. The Aussies then crushed Great Britain 51–24. Australia had a loss to Canada 50–57, but bounced back to win against the Netherlands, 58–49. This advanced Australia to the quarter final, where the Gliders met and defeated Mexico 62–37.

Team USA started by defeating France 63–24 in its first game. It then lost to Germany, 54–48. It came back and defeated Mexico 67–33. Team USA came from 21 behind to defeat China in extra time, and played Canada and won in the quarter final 67–55.

The first quarter got off to an exciting start. USA had first possession and chalked up the first score. Kylie Gauchi responded quickly with a good shot, leveling the score. Then followed an exciting passage of play in which USA turned the ball over, but Clare Nott lost it on a bad pass. Shelly Chaplin then stole it back but Kylie Gauchi put it out of bounds. Clare Nott stole it back again, only to have Gauichi turn it over again. The USA took a shot at the basket from inside the paint, but missed. They then took a rebound and finally scored. A USA free throw extended their lead to 2–6. Thereafter both teams’ shooting was poor, and the score was only 10–12 at quarter time.

The second quarter started with Merritt scoring twice to give Australia the lead 14–12. A ferocious Australian defence saw USA’s style severely cramped, and they turned the ball over a number of times. They also took too long to move the ball forward. The crowd included the familiar block of Gliders fans in yellow T-shirts. They made their presence felt, chanting “Defence, Gliders, Defence!” whenever USA had the ball. Unfortunately, the Gliders’ poor shooting prevented them from fully capitalising on their superb defence, leaving the score tied at 26–26 at half time.

In the third quarter, an early goal by Kylie Gauchi from outside the paint gave the Gliders the lead. A series of steals gave the Gliders additional shots at goal, most of which missed, but USA had no answer to the Australian defence, with a series of timeouts and turnovers, and their shooting was even poorer. While the Australians relentlessly racked up point after point, taking a 32–26 lead, USA were unable to score at all until the last minute of the quarter. A hurried goal with seconds to go by Katie Hill saw the Gliders leading 38–28 at the last change.

In the fourth quarter, the Australian defence remained taut, but the shooting remained terrible. In the final accounting, Cobi Crispin only made 3 out of 10 shots, and Amber Merritt only 4 out of 16. The Glider’s most accurate shot turned out to be Clare Nott, who made four out of five attempts. Meanwhile, an increasingly desperate USA team pegged the Australians back to 40–39. Three timeouts were taken in the last minute. Fouls saw Merritt sent to the free throw line, but she missed both shots. The game went down to the last second, with USA missing a shot from inside the paint, before the shot clock ran out.



Sources

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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September 6, 2012

Wikinews interviews Amber Merritt Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer

Wikinews interviews Amber Merritt Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Amber Merritt changing a wheel in the game against Mexico.
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England— Tuesday, following her team’s 62–37 win over Mexico in the quarter-finals at the North Greewich Arena, Wikinews interviewed Amber Merrit of the Australian women’s national wheelchair basketball team.

In their next match, the Gliders will face the victors from the United States versus Canada, having suffered their first loss of this year’s Games to Canada on Sunday night by seven points.

Interview transcript

Wikinews waves Left.pngLaura HaleWikinews waves Right.png I’m excited to see you in London, because you were so fantastic in that interview.

[Wikinews previously interviewed Merrit, and teammates in July. —Ed.]
Amber Merrit: Thank you.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which state are you from?

AM: I’m from WA. [Western Australia —Ed.]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You wheel change! What was wrong with your wheel?

AM: I smashed out three spokes. Someone hit me, and I lost three spokes in my chair.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png was that because you were playing really aggressively against Mexico?

AM: Yeah, or they were playing really aggressive against us.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Watching that game it didn’t seem that they were playing that aggressive, in terms of they came in with set pieces; they weren’t doing the full-court press; they didn’t seem prepared for your offensive and defensive tenacity. Wikinews waves Left.pngHawkeye7Wikinews waves Right.png You kept on all holding them out, where they weren’t even getting across the centre line

AM: I think we have a really physical style of basketball where we’re going to press, and when we press we try to stop chairs and make sure they don’t get over that halfway line. They’re going to come out and play as hard as they can against us and sometimes there is that odd mishap where they might smash a few spokes cause they hit us. It happens.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You tipped a lot in previous games. You haven’t tipped so much in this series.

AM: No, I’ve managed to keep my balance this time. Or maybe they haven’t hit me hard enough to put me down on the floor.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Part of the appeal of wheelchair basketball, and I feel guilty admitting it, it watching you guys tip.

AM: And fall out. It’s embarrassing but I like it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve got your next game coming up, which is going to be against the winner of the United States or Canada later today

AM: We’re not 100% sure yet who that’s going to be.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Looking forward to meeting them?

AM: Yeah! Looking forward to coming up against them.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who would you prefer?

AM: I don’t know if I have a preference, to be honest. Whoever its going to be, we’re still going to go out there and play as hard as we can and take it to them as a team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think you’ve been adequately prepared coming in to this, with your tournament in Sydney, your tournament in the Netherlands?

AM: Yeah, I think we’ve come in very well prepared for this tournament. We’ve been together for a while now as a team. Of course we had the Gliders and Rollers world challenge. We also went to Arnheim in the Netherlands for a pre-tournament, and we’ve trained together in Cardiff. And then after Cardiff we came in to London; so we’ve had that time together as a team and we’re doing really well.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Does that give you an advantage over other teams?

AM: I’m not sure, because I don’t know what other teams have been doing behind the scenes as their training.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you very much.

AM: No worries!



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