Vanessa Michael won bronze in the World Indige­nous Bas­ket­ball Chal­lenge in Canada.

Kwinana Courier - - Front Page -

SAFETY Bay Se­nior High School Abo­rig­i­nal and Is­lan­der ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer Vanessa Michael picked up a bronze medal in the World Indige­nous Bas­ket­ball Chal­lenge in Canada.

Michael was part of the Aus­tralian team at the chal­lenge held ear­lier this month in Van­cou­ver.

One of only a hand­ful of play­ers cho­sen from Aus­tralia, Michael, who is a Whad­juk Noon­gar woman, was un­sure she would be se­lected due to her age and hav­ing two young chil­dren at home.

“I was over­whelmed and ex­cited at first, but I felt very hon­oured to get an op­por­tu­nity like this to be able to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia and Noon­gar cul­ture, as well as be­ing able to learn about other indige­nous cul­tures from around the world,” she said.

For Michael, bas­ket­ball is in the blood, hav­ing com­peted at var­i­ous lev­els for many years, in­clud­ing rep­re­sent­ing WA three times at na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.

“I have been play­ing bas­ket­ball ba­si­cally my whole life,” she said.

“In 2003, I joined the Cock­burn Cougars in the State Bas­ket­ball League.

“I first started play­ing bas­ket­ball as a ju­nior but ended up lov­ing the game and the friends you make from it.”

De­spite trav­el­ling with a team of only six play­ers, due to a few peo­ple hav­ing to pull out at the last mo­ment, the Aus­tralian side per­formed ex­tremely well against some stiff com­pe­ti­tion.

“Through­out the com­pe­ti­tion, a lot of the other teams un­der­es­ti­mated us, so to end up with the bronze medal, de­spite hav­ing no sub­sti­tute play­ers, was a pretty big achieve­ment,” Michael said.

This is the sec­ond year of the World Indige­nous Bas­ket­ball Chal­lenge and only the first year fe­male teams have been in­cluded in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“Be­ing in­volved in the com­pe­ti­tion was a great ex­pe­ri­ence, but I could not have done it with­out the love and sup­port of my fam­ily and friends,” Michael said.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son d473216

Indige­nous bas­ket­baller Vanessa Michael showed off her skills in Canada.

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