Twists and turns in ca­reer

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS -

VA­LERIE Ogoke has over­come a bas­ket­ball ca­reer-end­ing in­jury and come half­way around the world to be­gin a new life in Perth.

Born in Los An­ge­les, Ms Ogoke is now the co­or­di­na­tor of the South Perth Learn­ing Cen­tre but she has had an unortho­dox ride.

She has played col­lege bas­ket­ball in the US, in the State Bas­ket­ball League (SBL) and the Women’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League (WNBL).

“At 22, I moved to San Fran­cisco and lived there for three years. It was there where I was inspired to ex­plore out­side of Amer­ica and do what I wanted,” she said.

“I be­came more self-aware and de­cided I wanted to ex­plore and en­rich other peo­ple’s lives.

“I was work­ing in a fi­nance job but I wanted a change of scenery. It had been three years since I played bas­ket­ball in col­lege at Loy­ola Mary­mount Uni- ver­sity but then I was picked to play for the South West Slam­mers in 2012.”

In Ms Ogoke’s first and only sea­son with the Slam­mers, the team picked up its first women’s cham­pi­onship.

“I was picked up by the Can­berra Cap­i­tals in the WNBL 2012/13 sea­son, where I met Lau­ren Jack­son, who was the epit­ome of a leader and had so many words of ad­vice and I learned so much from her,” she said.

“I stopped play­ing when I landed on a team­mate’s foot and frac­tured my an­kle. It re­quired three surg­eries and I’m still re­hab­bing to this day.”

Ms Ogoke then worked in sports man­age­ment with the South West Acad­emy of Sport (SWAS) un­til last year.

“It was a sports man­age­ment role; I was work­ing with ath­letes aged 14-18 in Olympic or cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant sports,” she said.

“I left SWAS in 2016 and spent about a year in In­done­sia be­fore once again mov­ing back to WA.”

Ms Ogoke said her fo­cus in her new role was to get more peo­ple tak­ing part in the var­i­ous classes at the learn­ing cen­tre.

“I’m aim­ing to reach a new de­mo­graphic here, we want to get more young adults to come here,” she said.

“We have an in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment, with lots of dif­fer­ent cour­ses such as art, pho­tog­ra­phy and lan­guages.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d469795

Long and wind­ing road: Va­lerie Ogoke has over­come in­jury and come half­way around the world to a new po­si­tion at the South Perth Learn­ing Cen­tre.

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