Sydney Uni Wheelchair Flames star and Sydney University Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Sarah Stewart has helped the Australian women’s wheelchair team, the Gliders, to be crowned 2011 Asia Oceania champions, after winning their gold medal match in Goyang, South Korea last week.
The always consistent Stewart scored 11 points as the Gliders defeated China 45-44 in a gold medal play-off thriller, allowing them to qualify for the 2012 London Paralympic Games as the top two ranked teams from Oceania.
The Gliders gold medal victory didn’t come without its hiccups though, with the side dropping two games to Japan throughout the tournament and jeopardising their chance for qualification.
They ultimately earned a spot in the final on points percentage, and even in the final against a Chinese team they had beaten twice earlier in the week, found themselves down 14-7 at quarter-time and down 40-38 late in the fourth quarter.
To their credit, the Gliders managed to lift when it mattered, and the character-building victory will give them something to build upon as they look ahead to their London 2012 campaign.
The Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team, the Rollers also secured a place at next year’s Olympics with a gold medal victory over Japan.