SAFETY Bay Senior High School Aboriginal and Islander education officer Vanessa Michael picked up a bronze medal in the World Indigenous Basketball Challenge in Canada.
Miss Michael was part of the Australian team at the challenge held earlier this month in Vancouver.
One of only a handful of players chosen from across Australia, Miss Michael who is a Whadjuk Noongar woman, was unsure she would be selected due to her age and having two young children at home.
“I was very overwhelmed and excited at first, but I felt very honoured to get an opportunity like this to be able to represent Australia and Noongar culture, as well as being able to learn about other indigenous cultures from around the world,” she said.
For Miss Michael, basketball is in the blood, having competed at various levels of the game for many years, including representing WA three times at National competitions.
“I have been playing basketball basically my whole life,” she said.
“In 2003 I joined the Cockburn Cougars in the State Basketball League.
“I first started playing basketball as a junior but ended up loving the game and the friends you make from it.”
Despite travelling with a team of only six players, due to a few people having to pull out at the last moment, the Australian side performed extremely well against some stiff competition.
“Throughout the competition a lot of the other teams underestimated us, so to end up with the bronze medal, despite having no substitute players, was a pretty big achievement,” Miss Michael said.
This is the second year of the World Indigenous Basketball Challenge and only the first year female teams have been included in the competition.
“Being involved in the competition was a great experience, but I could not have done it without the love and support of my family and friends,” Miss Michael said.