Olympic de­but awaits Arancini


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

WITH two par­ents in the game, wa­ter polo has al­ways been in Zoe Arancini’s blood.

The Kent Street Se­nior High School grad­u­ate and cur­rent Curtin Univer­sity stu­dent was named on the Aus­tralian Stingers squad ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The 13-strong team will look to bring an­other medal home, af­ter the team won gold at Syd­ney 2000, and more re­cently bronze medals at Bei­jing 2008 and Lon­don 2012.

Arancini (24) will make her Olympic de­but in Rio, though she is no stranger to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

She was a stand­out for Aus­tralia last year at the FINA World Cham­pi­onships in Rus­sia when she was named as a tour­na­ment all star.

The same year she was also crowned the Aus­tralian Ju­nior Women’s Player of the Year.

Aus­tralia will face Rus­sia, Italy and Brazil in the pre­lim­i­nary group in Rio and coach Greg McFad­den said de­fend­ing Olympic cham­pion USA was the team to beat.

“Our last tour proved the USA are still the ones to beat; they won three of the five games we played against them. They showed us if you are not on your game, they can really dom­i­nate you,” he said.

“But you can’t dis­count any side, which is why you need to be play­ing at your best in ev­ery game or oth­er­wise you may not come away with a win.”

The Aus­tralian side is vy­ing for gold, and McFad­den be­lieved the team was now a dif­fer­ent play­ing group to pre­vi­ous Olympics.

“This team has more fire­power, which sets them apart from the last two Olympic teams I have coached,” he said.

“Pre­vi­ously we’ve re­lied on our se­nior play­ers to be the lead­ing goal scor­ers but over the last 12-18 months our younger play­ers have been among the top scor­ers.

“For our new Olympians, they bring a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence, each play­ing more than 100 in­ter­na­tional games.” WA’s Gemma Beadsworth and Glen­cora McGhie were also picked.

Pic­ture: Getty Images 2016

Zoe Arancini (right) train­ing.

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