At the conclusion of the Ivor Burge Championship for athletes with an intellectual disability in Ballarat last week, the coaching staff of the Australian Pearls women’s basketball team announced a squad of 20 players.
With nearly half the squad at junior age, the Pearls’ management has time to fully develop the group ahead of its next two major international events, the 2009 Global Games and the 2010 World Championship.
Squad members will be invited to a training camp later in the year at a venue to be decided, where they will begin the Australian team program for 2007.
“The Grand Final of the Ivor Burge Championship last weekend was an excellent display of women’s basketball, with thirteen of the squad members battling it out for the Ivor Burge trophy,” Pearls Head Coach Larry Davidson said.
“We have been able to identify the strongest squad in the history of the Pearls program.”
Basketball Australia would like to congratulate all those athletes selected.
Vanessa AINGER - NSW Metro
Mina ALDOBASIC - VIC Metro
Karina BAINES - NSW Metro
Bernadette BARDEN - NSW Country
Eliza BARDEN - NSW Country
Danielle BURDEN - VIC Metro
Renay HALL - VIC Metro
Lily HOLMES - VIC Country
Stacey KAHL - South Australia
Kim LARKIN - VIC Metro
Lisa MACKIE - NSW Metro
Melissa MARLBOROUGH - ACT
Christine MAYNARD - Tasmania
Krystal MUNDAY - VIC Metro
Kristin MURCER - NSW Metro
Kaitlyn PAPWORTH - VIC Metro
Kim PERRY - NSW Metro
Nicole SKERMAN - Queensland
Molly URQUHART-MORAN - VIC Metro
Kelly WREN - NSW Metro
In related news, Pearls team manager Sally Duncan last week received the Australian Sports Commission Volunteer of the Year Award at the Australin Sport Awards in Melbourne.
Her acceptance speech garnered a wave of praise at the event - and is thus repeated here for your enjoyment.
"I’d like to thank the Australian Sports Commission for including an award for volunteers in a night like this, and I’d like to congratulate all of the nominees in the room tonight.
"No matter where people get to know you - at events, on TV, in the papers or on the radio - you provide the examples, you are the role models that encourage our children to participate in sport.
"When I grew up in country Victoria in the small town of Clunes, sport played a huge role in our lives. It gave us life-long friendships, an understanding of commitment and a belief in our abilities. I am also fortunate that my wonderful parents showed me how easy it is give something back to your community.
"Today I work with a fantastic community of very special people. Most are not privileged like us to have a good education, a great job, a loving and supporting family environment. Most of us take these things for granted – but life can be hard when you have a disability and even harder when it is not necessarily visible.
"I find it very easy to give some back. And whether it is working with my wonderful Pearls or every week with our grassroots competition, whether it is the constant fund raising or washing singlets, or the strategic planning or the hundred other great opportunities I have every week, the passion and dedication of these intellectually disabled basketballers and their families is a reward that I encourage you all to seek out during your life.
"My special thanks to Lorraine Landon and the team at Basketball Australia and Robyn Smith and the staff of AUSRAPID who share our vision and help make our dreams come true with their energy and passion, to Vern Tessier who has been my basketball mentor and given me so much good advice and encouragement, and to my finacee Pete who makes everything possible every day.
"So go be a volunteer – I promise you’re life will surely be enriched."