By Duncan Mackay

Gliders London 2012April 10 - Basketball Australia is to set to appoint its first full-time coach for the Gliders, the country's women wheelchair team, as they seek to win its first-ever Paralympic gold medal at Rio 2016.

The team won the silver medals at London 2012, the third time in four Games that they had been beaten in the final, following defeats at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. 

At Beijing 2008 they had won the bronze medals.

At London the team was coached by John Triscari, who admitted after the Gliders 58-44 defeat to Germany in the final that they had not been physical enough.

The new set-up is designed to ensure that the team is ready for the next Paralympics, in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in 2014.

"The Gliders are undoubtedly one of Australia's most successful Paralympic teams, boasting four Paralympic medals and three World Championship medals," said Basketball Australia chief executive Kristina Keneally.

"One of the foundation sports on the programme in Rome in 1960, wheelchair basketball continues to be one of the most popular sports at the Paralympics.

"Our Rollers [the men's team] and Gliders are renowned as trailblazers with our Paralympic programmes, and Basketball Australia intends to continue that tradition."

John Triscari at Manchester 2012Coach John Triscari gives a team-talk to the Gliders during the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester last year

The Gliders' head coach will be based at the team's new home, Basketball Australia's National Wheelchair Centre of Excellence at the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) in Homebush, Sydney.

"As we've done with the Opals [the women's Olympic team], the Gliders head coach position has evolved from part-time to full-time with a permanent base - giving the Gliders the resources they need to aim for gold," said Keneally.

The successful candidate will oversee the four-year programme designed to see the Gliders deliver at major benchmark events as part of the Australian Sports Commission's "Winning Edge" 2012-2022 strategy, added Keneally.

The position will include setting the team's programme - in consultation with Basketball Australia's High Performance management - encompassing the strategic direction of player development, programme delivery, coaching, technical and scientific advances, resource development and competition.

A selection panel, which includes men's national wheelchair team coach Ben Ettridge, Michael Hartung from the Australian Paralympic Committee and former Opals coach Jan Stirling, has been appointed.

It will chaired by Basketball Australia's General Manager of High Performance and National Teams, Steven Icke.

Applications for the post are due to close on April 26. 

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