Indigenous athletes inspired for carnival

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Three teams of young Indigenous athletes from Victoria and Western Australia were given an inspiring and educational experience at Netball Australia’s headquarters in Melbourne before taking part in an Aboriginal sports carnival.

The teams are heading to the Victorian regional city of Ballarat to compete in the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association (VACSAL) tournament between 24-25 September.

Victorian State League player and Australia Post One Netball Ambassador Elaine Osei-Safo delivered a presentation to the young athletes about the benefits on healthy eating for elite netball players.

CJG_002 lrFormer West Coast Fever and Australian 21/U squad member Alicia Janz, who is a mentor of the Wirrpanda Foundation’s Deadly Sista Girlz program in Melbourne, shared some of her netball and life experiences with the players.

Janz, pictured left, spoke of the importance of teamwork, discipline and dedication as the young women progressed through their netball careers.

The West Australian team, made up of girls aged between 13 and 17, was chosen from the Aboriginal All-Stars squad selected following the state’s NAIDOC carnival in July 2015.

It’s the first time the Aboriginal All-Stars have travelled across the country to play in the carnival and are using it as preparation for their Regional Academy tournament in Western Australia on the weekend of 3-4 October.

The two teams from Victoria are made up of girls nominated through the Korin Gamadji Institute netball program, called the Laguntas Sisters. They will play in the 15/U and 17/U age groups at the carnival.

The program is supported by Netball Victoria and the Australian Catholic University and focuses on leadership development, education and training and career pathways for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It’s the first year that Korin Gamadji Institute has offered a netball program and already has 17 young girls from across metropolitan and country Victoria involved.

Last year’s VACSAL carnival attracted more than 700 athletes and offers the chance for these young netballers to participate in friendly competition in a healthy and safe environment.