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Ruby Connection Blog
07 March 2011
A team of amazing Australian women will head to the Czech Republic in September to defend their 2006 world championship gold medal won in Brazil. I wonder how many Australians would be able to nominate the sport given those few facts. Not too many I suspect.
Perhaps if I added that one of the team members is a 19 year old called Liz Cambage who stands 203 cm in her socks (that's about six feet eight inches in old measures) you could hazard a guess that I'm talking basketball.
I wonder how many Australians would be able to name, say, another two of her team mates. Not too many I suspect.
Even though among their number is counted Lauren Jackson currently a force in the WNBA playing for the Seattle Storm and preparing for yet another play off campaign. Jackson sits fourth on the list of all time scorers and is expected to become the number one scorer in the next few years. She's earned the MVP award twice and is the hot tip to win it again this season.
But of course offshore success is part of the reason no one knows who the Opals are. Of the 13 Opals squad members four play in the US, five play in Europe and the remaining four in our own WNBL. Of those four, one has returned from the US last season and the other three are young and hotly recruited to go offshore. At 30 plus years, the WNBL is the longest standing women's professional sporting league in the country but it struggles to keep our home-grown talent here and visible.
So good luck to the Opals who will depart for overseas on September 7 to play in a pre-season tournament against powerhouse nations USA and Spain in New York before heading to Europe to prepare for the World Championships. Good luck not just for the world champs but good luck in getting some recognition for their achievements overall.