INCREASING THE WORKLOAD: The Australian Gliders’ Bridie Kean and her teammates will be competing at the Suncoast Spinners’ annual tournament this weekend.
INCREASING THE WORKLOAD: The Australian Gliders’ Bridie Kean and her teammates will be competing at the Suncoast Spinners’ annual tournament this weekend. Brett Wortman

Planning to get on a roll before Rio Games

Disappointed by the Gliders' world championships campaign, Cotton Tree's Bridie Kean says Australia's women's wheelchair basketball players will be better prepared for a tilt at the Rio Paralympics.

The squad is at Caloundra for a week-long camp and the annual Suncoast Spinners Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, which gets under way today.

The three-day competition at the Caloundra Indoor Sports Centre represents the start of the team's concerted push towards qualification for the 2016 Games.

"One of our objectives this year is to play as many games as we can against strong (domestic) men's and mixed teams and this is the first tournament of the year where we have the opportunity to do that," Kean said yesterday.

It is hoped more games on home soil will provide the side with a favourable lead-up to the Asia Oceania Qualifiers in Japan in October, when the Gliders will need to win to earn a berth in Brazil.

It is in Rio where the side can attempt to wrest back its position as an international force.

At the London Olympics, Australia won a silver medal under the captaincy of Kean.

But at last year's world championships in Toronto, Canada, the Gliders finished a sub-standard fifth.

"It definitely wasn't the result we were hoping for," Kean said.

"(But) we've learned so much from that ... now we know what we want to do to prepare for our qualification tournament and Rio.

"Part of that is to play as many games as we can and to have more training camps in Australia.

"We want to be back where we were in the Paralympics, in those medal positions."

Kean, 27, hails from Melbourne but has lived mostly on the Sunshine Coast since 2011.

A PhD student at the University of the Sunshine Coast, she lost the use of her legs as a two-year-old with meningococcal.

This weekend's carnival involves many of Australia's top wheelchair basketball teams, with some representatives from the Australian men's side taking the court.


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