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Sarah Vinci is ready for redemption.  

The London 2012 silver medallist has been through the highs and lows of international wheelchair basketball as a long-time member of the Australian Gliders.  

The women’s national team went from earning second place on the world’s biggest stage in 2012 to failure to qualify for the Rio 2016 Games and then to a ninth-place finish at the Tokyo Paralympics.  

“It was a rough time, it was hard, we did go through a slight downhill patch, but I think we’ve come back stronger,” Vinci said as the squad prepared for the IWBF Repechage tournament in Japan, starting on Wednesday, the final chance to qualify for the Paris Paralympics later this year.  

“I think we’ve improved from [the World Championships in] Dubai last year and we’ve done a lot of development, which has been amazing.  

“I think we’re just going to keep moving forward.” 

Vinci, who made her Gliders debut at the 2011 Osaka Cup, paid tribute to head coach Craig Campbell for bringing together a good mix of experience and stability to the group, while including future talent. 

“It’s actually really good to see over the last few years there’s been that rebuild,” she said.  

“Craig has really settled into that role and is focused on developing, and I think it’s showing in our results. 

“He listens and he’s very supportive of all our skills and he just wants the best for us girls as well.” 

The squad has a few familiar faces in seasoned campaigners Kylie Gauci and Shelley Matheson, who were part of the team that won silver at Athens 20 years ago, and Bridie Kean, who together with Matheson and Gauci, won bronze at Beijing in 2008 and silver in London. 

The trio brings around 1000 games of international experience to the court.   

“Having Bridie, Kylie and Shelley, I think that’s going to bring so much experience and leadership to the team,” Vinci said.  

“As well as helping develop the other newer girls.” 

Along with experience, comes the next generation of Gliders, with Laura Davoli and Ebony Stevenson ones to watch according to Vinci. 

“Laura plays in my national league team [Perth Wheelcats] and just seeing the improvement in her is incredible, she’s got so much read into the game. 

“Ebony too, she has got such an amazing future and seeing the difference and development in her as been great.” 

Relative newcomer Davoli is nervous, but excited.   

The 18-year-old recently returned to the court from a hip replacement in December. 

“This is going to be a great opportunity for me to build my experience and be with a lot of experienced players as well,” Davoli said. 

“The coaches, all the players, they’re so welcoming and inclusive and it’s just a great environment to be in.  

“I’ve always found it to be so positive and you just you feel so much at home and like you’re in the right place when you’re around these people.” 

“It’s pretty amazing. I don’t really step back enough and look at what I’ve done,” she added. 

“I really just take one thing after the other and I forget to look back, but it’s kind of cool what I’ve been able to do.” 

The Repechage tournament will feature eight teams and two pools that will establish rankings for crossover matches. In Group A, the Gliders face Germany, Thailand and Algeria. Group B includes Canada, Spain, France and hosts Japan.  

The crossover stage will unveil the four teams to secure a spot at the Paralympics. 

By: Natalie McGarry, Paralympics Australia 

Published: April 15, 2024

Team List 


Hannah Dodd  


Taishar Ovens  


Isabel Martin  


Sarah Vinci  


Maryanne Latu  


Kylie Gauci  


Ebony Stevenson  


Shelley Matheson  


Georgia Munro-Cook  


Jess Cronje  


Laura Davoli  


Bridie Kean