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Gliders captain Hannah Dodd is confident Australia’s women’s wheelchair basketball team is heading in the right direction after emerging with bronze at the Asia Oceania Zone Championships. 


The format of the women’s competition saw Australia in a three team pool with China and Japan. Pool B contained six teams, all outside the IWBF top 10 with the winner joining the three teams from Pool A in the semi finals. 


It meant the Gliders were always going to make the semis but also that every pool game was going to be against very tough competition. Especially for an inexperienced side looking to build cohesion. 


“We had one training session together before playing which was the first time all twelve of us were together so there was always going to be some teething issues. New lineups and new roles for a lot of people so just getting used to everything,” says Dodd.

Hannah vs Japan Pool Game 2



Australia struggled against eventual champions China, losing their pool games, 21-69 and 25-54 but Japan didn’t fare much better, losing their pool games to China by an average of 23.5 points.


“We definitely improved as we went on as people got more comfortable and confident in what we’re doing.”


The Gliders looked better against Japan and although they lost their pool games, the Australians led both games at half time before being chased down.


Their loss to Japan in the semi final left the Aussies to take on Thailand in the Bronze Medal game. 


Thailand started the contest with a 15-8 first quarter and when the hosts got on easy lay-up early in the second quarter the Gliders called a time out that quickly changed the fortunes of the match.


“We made the choice at quarter time to press up on them but obviously didn’t get off to a great start with that. The time out was just to emphasise to play as a team and that we always have to be below the line of the ball.”


From there, the Gliders took control of the game, eventually winning 47-41.


“We came out of the half really well and once we got that buffer we knew we just had to be patient and take our time and not let them rush us into mistakes.”


The Gliders now turn their attention to a repechage in April. Australia has a favourable draw in Pool A alongside Germany, Thailand and Algeria while Pool B has Spain, France, Canada and Japan.


The top four from this tournament will earn the last four spots in Paris alongside the Netherlands, Great Britain, USA and China. 


“Honestly, I'm pretty happy with it. We can easily finish top two in our pool and a crossover with France, Japan or Spain is absolutely winnable when we have a full squad.”


Laura Davoli and Annabelle Dennis are two players who were unavailable for the AOZ Championships that will come back into the mix, adding depth to the side’s high pointer stock. The team will reconvene in China for a training camp ahead of the repechage in Japan in April.


In the meantime, Dodd has returned to Germany to see out her second European season alongside partner Steve Elliott before returning home after the repechage.

Hannah Doggo

Hannah will fly back to Sydney with Steve to pick up her car and dog Bruno who’s been living his best life on her parents’ farm while she’s been overseas. The trio will then return to the Sunshine Coast so Steve can finish his university studies ahead of the Australian season.


Both Dodd and Elliott will suit up for the Just Better Care Roller Hawks in the new look national league, but Dodd will also play an important role for the Sydney Uni Flames in their 2024 campaign.


“I’m super excited to play a proper season in Australia. I’m hoping the schedule allows me to play both because I really enjoy the men’s game and if we qualify (for Paris) those games will be really helpful for preparation.”