Gliders off to world titles

THE Australian women's and men's wheelchair basketball teams have booked their spots at next year's world titles after dominating the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships.

The Gliders squad, which includes Harcourt-raised triple Paralympian Shelley Chaplin, were undefeated in their eight matches at the qualifying tournament in Thailand last week.

In their first major hit-out under new coach Tom Kyle, the Gliders showed the class that earned them the silver medal at the 2012 London Paralympics.

Their average winning margin throughout the Bangkok carnival was 35 points, including a 64-point demolition of the host nation.

The campaign ended on a high with a 57-35 victory over China on Friday to claim the gold medal.

The Gliders head to the world titles in Canada next June full of confidence and will be keen to improve on their 2010 return, when they lost the bronze medal game to Canada.

Chaplin, 29, returned to the Aussie squad rejunvenated after taking a break from basketball after London.

Coach Kyle said while he was proud of his team, there was still a lot of hard work ahead in their quest to become "the number one team on the planet".

The Australian men have also been in outstanding form in recent weeks.

They defeated Paralympic gold medallists Canada last month at the Champions Cup in Japan, then enjoyed an unbeaten run of seven matches at the AO zone event.

Their Thai tournament culminated in a comfortable win against Korea in the gold-medal game.

The Rollers will now get the chance to defend the world crown they won in 2010, when they take on the best of the rest at the men's 2014 tournament in South Korea in July.

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